Making Every Day, Veteran’s Day

Love him or hate him, the Trump administration has shown up for America’s military heroes.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the American Veterans 75th National Convention Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Louisville, K.Y. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Honoring Those Who Made America Great

That the fighting servicemen, and servicewomen who have helped make America the bastion of freedom it remains to this day, have risked all, and given all, is without question.

The service record of America’s armed forces is stellar and exemplary.

The way the U.S. has received and cared for some of its wounded warriors upon their return home, less so.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump is joined by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and AMVET members as he signs a Presidential Memorandum on discharging the Federal Student Loan Debt of Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans at the American Veterans 75th National Convention Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Louisville, K.Y. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Who can forget the terrible VA scandals of 2014 and 2015?

The country may have been surprised to learn that $53 million dollars in medical care benefits were improperly denied by a Phoenix VA hospital in only a six month period. Or that veterans nationwide were on waiting lists for months, waiting on turns that never came, while the lists were manipulated internally to make the numbers look better.

Veterans, however, were not at all surprised.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump displays his signature after signing an executive order for a “National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide- the PREVENTS Initiative” Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

“The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veterans’ satisfaction. When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What’s important? What’s important is: What’s your satisfaction with the experience?” — Veteran Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald, May 2016.

While previous administrations bemoaned how difficult it is to fire a government employee, and compared veterans waiting for care to kids at Disneyland complaining about line times, President Donald Trump has perhaps done what he does best.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump , joined by Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilke, left, and invited guests signs S. 693 the National POW/MIA Flag Act Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

“You’re Fired!”

“I don’t like firing people, but I like firing people that don’t treat our vets great, that aren’t doing their jobs.” — President Donald Trump, October 2019

From top administrators and network directors to x-ray technicians, the Trump administration has purged from the ranks of the Veterans Hospital over 8,000 employees who weren’t performing to up to the new, higher standards of the VA.

“The standard is if you don’t live up to your oath, if you don’t live up to the standards that our veterans expect, that you will be asked to leave. This is a transformational moment in our history.” — VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, November 8, 2019

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump signs the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 | June 23, 2017. (photo: White House Photo of the Day)

“There has never been a President who has given this much attention to America’s veterans or allowed for more transformation to go on in the lives of veterans in this department than this President has.” — VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. November 8, 2019.

In 2018, the VA achieved an 89% patient satisfaction rate, the highest in VA history.

The President also signed the Mission Act, which allowed veterans the choice of seeking treatment in a private hospital. Even having a choice usually improves the choices.

For veterans living in rural areas far from a VA hospital, this new rule has been a God-send.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilke, left, and invited guests displays a POW/MIA flag after signing S. 693 the National POW/MIA Flag Act Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Giving veterans a voice in their healthcare has been a cornerstone of the Trump administration.

In addition to many other unacceptable practices, In the past, the VA sometimes took years to review complaints against doctors.

“I will create a private White House hotline- that is answered by a real person 24-hours a day- to make sure that no valid complaint about the VA falls through the cracks. I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not acted upon, then the issue be brought directly to me, and I will pick up the phone and fix it myself, if need be.” — Donald Trump, 2016.

Even Politifact counts this as a “promise kept” by President Trump.

Under the new rules of the Trump administration, there is a greater degree of accountability than ever before and veterans have more access to private care.

Image for post
Image for post
Military veterans and Medal of Honor Recipients are recognized in the audience by President Donald J. Trump at the presentation the Presidential Citizens Medal posthumously to Richard “Rick” C. Rescorla on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in the East Room of the White House. Rescorla helped save the lives of nearly 2,700 people at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

But the proof of Trump’s commitment to improving the lives of U.S. military veterans, not just honoring them on Veteran’s Day, is, as they say, in the pudding.

A national poll taken in July 2019 showed very strong support from President Donald Trump among veterans.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, left, and invited guests, signs an executive order “Supporting the Transition of Active Duty Service Members and Military Veterans into the Merchant Marines” Monday, March 4, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

This Veteran’s Day, Trump even became the first sitting President at the NYC Veteran’s Day parade.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump recognizes a World War veteran James Blaine in the audience at the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride D.C. event, Thursday, April 18, 2019, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

All gave some, some gave all. And to them, the Trump administration has been giving back since he took office in 2017.

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald J. Trump honors veteran Bob Bishop at the AMVETS Post 44 Salute to American Heroes | July 25, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

For everything our military veterans do for the country we love and share, and for everything they give up in order to do it, this nation and everyone in it owes a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

It certainly seems, however, that President Donald Trump intends to try.

Image for post
Image for post
Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Anderson hugs his family at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Oct. 6, 2017, during a redeployment. Anderson is an aircraft structural maintainer assigned to the 23rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash
Image for post
Image for post
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Odukwu greets her family after at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Aug. 21, 2017, upon returning from a seven-month deployment aboard the USS George H. W. Bush. Navy photo by Seaman Jessica L. Dowell

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store