Saturday, November 11, 2006

That 70s Show and Veterans Day

That 70s Show, the Fox TV Network sitcom now in reruns, has a Veterans Day show. In that episode, Red is celebrating Veterans Day with his annual Veterans Day Picnic/Barbacue/Party. Suddenly, Red learns that Bob, his next door neighbor, Donna's father, is holding his own Veterans Day Party and Red sees red.

Why? Red is mad because Bob wasn't in the regular Army, he was just in the National Guard. Thus, in Red's eyes, Bob is not a real veteran.

Well, that was in the sixties and seventies. In those decades, the National Guard and Reserves were hiding places for men avoiding the draft and full time service. President George W. Bush is the poster boy for the guys who did that.

But in the 21st Century that has changed. National Guardsmen and Reservists have found themselves "drafted" in large numbers to fill in the gaps within our armed forces in Iraq. These men and women have had their lives interrupted for 12 to 18 months and have taken casualties. And there are reports that they are somehow not eligible for all the benefits their Regular Army brothers are entitled to even though they served in Iraq. That needs to be fixed.

I'm sure Red would agree with me that times have changed. Guardsmen and Reservists who have served overseas this decade are true veterans. This Veterans Day, let's not forget these reservists who have given so much to all of us with their sacrifices. I mourn the losses within their ranks this Veterans Day. We all should. --Walter Haan, www.war-books.com

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