Last updated: January 16. 2014 2:31PM - 814 Views

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To the editor:

If all the people around you behave according to your expectations, you are truly blessed.

Robert Gates wrote a book, “Duty,” giving his insight into the world around him as a U.S. Secretary of Defense, now retired.

He has said on television that he was disappointed when President Barack Obama at times did not show more attention to military personnel, although I recall that First Lady Michelle Obama has made it a point to personally visit with injured veterans and express concern for their families.

Much has been made when Obama fails to properly put his hand over his heart as a salute on appropriate occasions or seems distant or distracted dealing with military matters or greeting veterans.

At least he is not as obvious as some people in public generally not saluting — many just don’t know how — or talking when the National Anthem is played. Of course, my generation began the day in school with the pledge of allegiance to the flag in front of the classroom.

To veterans such matters are significant if they feel slighted.

Most of us, at least my generation, are veterans who, even if we joined rather than be drafted, were encouraged to do so with a draft notification in hand. I had no intentions of an Army career.

A lot of people in Congress, the president’s staff and a slew of Washington insiders are not veterans. Therein may lie the problem.

Being a veteran is not an entitlement to me. To those injured as service personnel, it is. As a veteran, it is my duty to see that fellow comrades in arms are given the entitlements due as the American people promised for their service.

What we expect from leaders in Washington is to show — not just talk about — their commitment to fulfilling promises made veterans.

I hope everyone will look at the merits of what Gates is saying to improve the situation for veterans and not use his words just as political ammunition.

Tom MacCallum


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