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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Remembering Vets

May 31, 2005

On Memorial Day, upon an invitation from a veteran, I went to a ceremony held in Sea Wolf Park in Galveston. Representatives of each military branch spoke and a wreath was dropped from a Coast Guard helicopter into the water off the bow of the submarine Cavalla.

No politicians spoke. Not even this one.

In Sugar Land, however, Rep. DeLay did speak at a Memorial Day ceremony in front of the new city hall. He called in a week ago to get included on the speakers list.

I would not have thought much about it except for two votes that he made days ago on veteran’s issues that are really shocking. You can check them yourself at the Chronicle "How They Voted" page.

In the first vote, DeLay voted AGAINST a motion to qualify National Guard and Reserve personnel for TRICARE, the main military health plan, to the extent that active duty troops are covered. Forty percent of our forces in Iraq are Reserve and Guard personnel. Because this motion failed, Reserve and Guard soldiers will continue getting fewer benefits while facing the same risks of being killed or injured for their country as the regular military combatants they are fighting side by side with.

But that is nothing compared to the other vote.

In the second vote, DeLay voted AGAINST increasing spending by $53 million for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, including $8 million for treating combat trauma; $9 million for prosthetic research; and $6 million for telemedicine to remotely serve National Guard and Reserve veterans. The money would have come from savings from base closings. So now an injured Guardsman with a missing limb will have less essential care.

Is this the definition of “supporting” all of our troops? Sending them into fight without adequate body or vehicle armor and when they come back injured, minimizing their benefits.

I would have voted “FOR” (“YES”) each of these measures. It would have been the "right" thing to do.

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