Soldiers Sent

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There are many more important numbers than the 10,000 miles I am riding throughout America. And as important as these numbers are, they are difficult to find. The reason, according to “Forbes” and “The International Business Times” is as follows. “In March 2013 the VA abruptly stopped releasing statistics on non-fatal war casualties. But previously it was reported that more than 900,000 service men and women have been treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, since returning from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the monthly rate of new patients to these facilities as of the end of 2012 was around 10,000. Beyond that, the picture gets murky. “

I have now completed more than 6,300 miles on my journey throughout America. I have spoken to people from every walk of life, every economic class and every political position. My conversations have been in parking lots, restaurants, bars, gas stations, roadside food stands and on the streets of towns of every size. And I have concluded that “Our American Flag”  has been hijacked.

In talking to Americans, “Our Flag” the “Flag Of The People” in many cases has become the flag of politics. The “Flag Of Our Country” can still be found in the hearts of the American people. One on one my discussions with people always lead to a common position when it comes to our veterans.

“If we send them…take care of them.” In my listening to “the people” I am sometimes asked what I think about the sending of the troops and what president is right, wrong or to blame for the current situation.” My answer, which has been forged by the miles I ride alone, recognizes that the discussion of our politics has nothing to do with our responsibility to serve those who have served us and sacrificed so much.

“If we send them…take care of them.”

 I believe that we cannot wave the flag…and let a flag of politics blind us from waving the flag of the people, “The Flag Of Our Country.” In a past divisive time President Lincoln on March 4, 1865, a time of great uneasiness gave a speech to thousands of people gathered near the capitol.

President Lincoln turned from the divisive bitterness at the War’s roots to the unifying task of reconciliation and reconstruction. In the speech’s final paragraph, the president delivered his prescription for the nation’s recovery:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right asGod gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in,to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

“If we send them…take care of them.”

 So what are those most important numbers that I referred to at the beginning of this post? I have listed them below for you to read. I have included them in what I write so you can internalize the reality of the burden that I believe we should all accept responsibility for. Not the responsibility of the politics or the discussion of should we have sent our troops or not. I only ask that you consider the words of President Lincoln and the wisdom of the American people that I listen to each mile that I ride.  I believe, everyone who does something to help our veterans is a waving of the flag of the people…the “Flag Of Our Country.”

The numbers as available…and are changing daily.

Since 2001, in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, over 6827 American military personnel have been killed in action in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Overall, 270,00 servicemen and women have suffered traumatic brain injury on the battlefield or elsewhere, including 3,949 with penetrating head wounds and 44,610 with severe or moderate brain injury.

Among the combat wounded from all the military services are 1,572 patients with major limb amputations, including 486 wounded troops with multiple amputations.

2,542 servicemen and women have suffered traumatic burns; 142 have lost at least one eye, and five lost both eyes in combat.

PTSD, reached 300,000 several years ago and is probably much higher now.

 

 

 

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