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Letter: Veterans should get more than applause once a year

Veterans should get more than applause once a year

Recently, I was at a monthly meeting for Western New York area high school and college basketball officials. Our president asked anyone who served in the military to please stand up to be recognized. With more than a hundred officials in attendance, approximately 15 veterans stood up. Next, he asked anyone with a family member in the military to stand and about five or 10 more people stood to be recognized.

The sad part is that these numbers will become smaller as time marches on. With the all-voluntary Army or, as I like to call it, the poor and working-class Army, fewer young men are joining the military yet serving longer enlistments.

As we stood and were recognized, and many applauded, that was the end of our yearly accolade and thank you for the years we spent overseas away from family. Many of us were Vietnam veterans who put our lives in harms’ way for all United States citizens. This was a nice gesture but as usual few and far between.

The point I’m trying to make is show our veterans that we really do care. The first step is to change the points a veteran and a disabled veteran receive on civil service exams. Now it is five points for an honorably discharged veteran and 10 points for a disabled veteran, and 2.5 points on promotional exams. These numbers have not changed in the past 40 years and should be doubled to 10 for veterans, 20 points for disabled veterans and five points for promotional exams.

With the working-class Army doing the duty for the other 80 percent who choose to stay safely at home, this is the least we can do. The once-yearly recognition and applause is nice but it is quite insignificant when you take into consideration what that other 20 per cent does every day all around the world. To all active duty veterans in harms’ way, stay safe and God bless.

Phil Ryan

Vietnam, 1968-69 USMC

West Seneca