October 14, 2014

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft,
I need your assistance to see if you can help me get my VA Appeal moving. I am a Vietnam Nam era veteran. It is my hope that someone will help me resolve these two appeals before I die and leave this burden on my wife.

This is not part of my claim however if the VA would open another office in Florida we may not have these kind of delays in support of my and other Veterans.

Thank you for your support.
HA, Florida

Dear HA
I have forwarded your missive to the powers that be at VA Headquarters. Please keep me up to date.

Shaft Notes
Soon we will be celebrating the Marine Corps Birthday. The following are two apropos offerings for reflection. Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow veterans and Semper Fi to my fellow Marines on these days of remembrance

Just A Common Soldier
He was getting old and paunchy and his hair falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.
And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.
He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes to serve his Country and offers up his life?
A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.
It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?
He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
For when the countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him his homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

The Marine Prayer
O Lord, we have long known that prayer should include confession. Therefore, on behalf of the Marines, I confess their sins: Lord, they’re just not in step with today’s society.
They are unreasonable in clinging to old-fashioned ideas like patriotism, duty, honor, and country.
They hold radical ideas believing that they are their brother’s keeper and responsible for the Marine on their flank.
They have been seen standing when colors pass, singing the National Anthem at ball games, and drinking toasts to fallen comrades.
Not only that, they have been observed standing tall; taking charge and wearing their hair unfashionably short.
They have taken John Kennedy’s words too seriously and are overly concerned with what they can do for their country instead of what their country can do for them.
They take the Pledge of Allegiance to heart and believe that their oath is to be honored.
Forgive them, Lord, for being stubborn men and women who hold fast to such old-fashioned values.
After all, what more can you expect: They’re Marines!

The American Legion and the Grammy Award-winning Oak Ridge Boys are uniting to raise awareness and support for needs of U.S. military veterans, including better detection and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), help with the VA benefits process, as well as education and career opportunities for those who served our nation in uniform. The American Legion is the country’s largest veterans service organization, with 2.4 million members who work every day on behalf of the men and women who have served our nation in uniform. The Oak Ridge Boys will participate in a national fundraising and awareness campaign to support the detection and treatment of mental health issues among veterans.

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