Posted on Dec 7, 2015
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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How do we Reshape America’s Views of Veterans?

RP Members what are your recommendations for reshaping the views on how America views veterans?

Fully realizing the benefits that vets can bring to civilian life means changing the distorted way they are perceived.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/reshaping-americas-views-of-veterans [login to see]

A newspaper writer laments: “On their return home after their long absence from society, and from industry, many of these brave men . . . find it difficult to get the opportunity at once to return to their old avocations. Their places in the workshops or elsewhere are filled up; and having but little money, and having lost to some extent the facility for securing employment or the friends who might have helped them to find it, they are greatly discouraged and disheartened, and their families suffer.”

Sound familiar? That’s the New York Times in June 1865. And yet here we are, 150 years on, with vets dying while waiting for medical care, 50,000 vets homeless, unemployment among post-9/11 vets consistently above the average, and just half of those who go to college actually finishing.

What we really most need is a long march through the institutions, to borrow a phrase. Send your kids to ROTC-friendly colleges. Don’t shell out for movies that offer a limited, fantasy view of the military. We must praise our vets’ service. But praise is easy. What’s hard is helping vets return to civilian life. That will happen when we recognize most aren’t Hollywood heroes or damaged goods, but civic assets.
Edited 6 y ago
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CPT Military Police
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
It's true we need to reshape how civilians think about veterans. There is this image that all we do is kill. It's evident even in children, I had a child reply to me, "Oh, you kill people". It's perpetuated in the movies and media over and over.
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COL Ted Mc
COL Ted Mc
6 y
SGT Francis Wright

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

by Rudyard Kipling (1892)
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SGT Francis Wright
SGT Francis Wright
6 y
COL Ted Mc, I wasn't sure where Kipling was going with it. But he's right. They have no interest in us, unless they need us. Wonder what they would do if they had to Defend themselves or the Country? Could be interesting.
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
6 y
CPT (Join to see) You bring up some valid points and I don't know if we can get past that stigma - COL Ted Mc nice! SGT Francis Wright You are right in response above - only when the crap hits the fan!
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COL Ted Mc
COL Ted Mc
6 y
COL Mikel J. Burroughs - Mikel; It's as "American as Mom and Apple Pie" for the US government to ignore its veterans. The tradition stretches back to the War of Independence and has been upheld in every war ever since.

Why people would expect that the government would change now is rather puzzling - especially when the electorate tells the government to spend less money.
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LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow
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Mandatory national service for all 18 year olds, except those with legitimate medical exemptions...
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SGT William Howell
SGT William Howell
6 y
LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow Trust me you think you want that, but you don't want that. I have served with former several Easter Block countries that had conscripts. They were not what you would consider excited about being in and they were next to useless in being effective combat multiplier.
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LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow
LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow
6 y
SGT William Howell I think of Israel as a model of success in this way. Eastern Block conscripts are in very bad ways because of how poorly they are treated and paid by their countries, especially in the days of the Soviet.

The reality is that it would be very costly to set up an effective national service program up front, but it would pay huge dividends on the back side. Getting people out of ghetto life and giving them skills and hope is huge. Teaching young adults self-discipline is another huge victory.
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SGT William Howell
SGT William Howell
6 y
LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow I believe that Israel is the exception, not the rule. Israel lives with the threat everyday of being attacked. They are warriors and they walk the walk because they have to. Israeli pride and sense of nationalism is leaps and bounds above the US.

We practically give free college education to those that are minorities and those that we do not give free education we give them slots over those that have done better academically. Yet they are not being taken advantage of. I am not saying it is right or wrong, what I am saying is that there is still a disproportionate number of black and hispanic students that graduate and move into the workforce even with being given advantages over other students.

If we were to force conscript military service it would be nothing more than a social experiment that would lower our ability to defend our country. Some would benefit, but most would not.
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LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow
LCDR Rabbah Rona Matlow
6 y
Israel does not have mandatory military service, but national service. There is a difference. There are many Israelis who perform non-military service. That is the model the US needs to follow. With things like the Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps, etc, there are plenty of non-military positions to fill.

Keep in mind that the WPA saved the US after the Depression. This type of program puts people in productive roles and gives them hope and self esteem. That is far more powerful than any affirmative action program.

That being said, there are myriad minorities who do extremely well. My niece is African American, and she graduated UC Berkeley in 3 years, and got an MEd from Stanford in just over a year. This put her in the classroom as one of the youngest teachers on record. And her father, an exceptional educator, also has a BA from Cal and an MA from Stanford...
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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I think the American public experienced their attrition from these wars. It's culmination is those military people fighting the two long wars that they don't want to think about, because we can't seem to win.
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