Updated on: November 13, 2019

In Recognition of American Veterans

By
Original story posted on: November 11, 2019

Veterans’ health is the face of the social determinants of health.

Once 11/11/11 or as it was known at the time 11:00 a.m. November 11th, 1918 was an indelible date – the Armistice of World War I but over time it became delible as it was succeeded by more indelible dates. Depending on your age, your number of indelible historical dates may vary. But the Armistice of WWI was made indelible by memorializing it as Veteran’s Day which is today.

All people have indelible experiences in their lives, veterans have a unique type. Our country respects, ignores, disrespects, our veterans in cycles. We are in a respect cycle at the present. Some think the nadir was 1932 when –as it was called then  - The Bonus Army of over 40,000 demonstrators consisting of 17,000 veterans and their families who came to Washington, D.C. to claim early redemption of bonuses that were not due to be issued until 1945.

The Depression pressured vets and their families to protest for early compensation. The Bonus Army was dispersed by another army led by the then Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur. The demonstrators were route by cavalry and six tanks. There were many injuries and there were deaths.

The point is not to argue the rightness or wrongness of happenings of 87 years ago but to bring attention to the 2019 Bonus Army comprised of our veterans who have had indelible damage to their minds and bodies. We are in their debt for their service in wars as warriors in battles, for their service as patients in VA hospitals as warriors in training physicians, we are in their debt as memories warriors, memories that are fading: the once indelible becoming delible.

The best way to thanks veterans for their service is to ensure the best care of their minds and bodies broken in war. There are many wonderful organizations trying to do just this. Look these groups over and support them.  Many women and men have been damaged with indelible physical and psychic wounds we cannot allow them to become a delible part of our society.

The older I become, the more grateful I get. So be grateful every day and today be grateful to our vets. Find a way to support the 2019 Bonus Army. It is composed of lifers. They will need our support every day, not just Veteran’s Day.

Blessing to all you vets out there and to those of you who support them.

Michael A. Salvatore, MD, FACP

Dr. Michael Salvatore was a pulmonary medicine/critical care physician for 35 years. Since 2012 he has been the physician advisor and medical director of the palliative care team at Beebe Healthcare in Delaware. After earning his MD at the University of Arizona, he trained in internal medicine and PULM/CCM at Duke University. Dr. Salvatore is a member of the RACmonitor editorial board.

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