All presidents are quick to pledge they will do all in their power to ensure veterans of military service and their families receive the benefits they have been promised. President Barack Obama did so during a Memorial Day speech a week ago, though he could not resist throwing in a re-election campaign line by pledging that our veterans will be well-protected and taken care of "as long as I'm president ..."
Throwing the usual campaign rhetoric aside, we Americans view it as a responsibility to keep our promises to veterans and their families. There are about 22.7 million veterans in the United States, including those in North Dakota and the Minot region. They have sacrificed much in the name of protecting this country all that it stands for, and thousands paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.
In general, we seem to do a good job in keeping our promises - but that is not good enough. The gigantic bureaucracy that is the Veterans Administration sometimes is guilty of lapses such as unacceptable conditions in veterans hospitals and lengthy waits for decisions on benefits.
That is not acceptable.
Ensuring veterans and their families receive all the help they have been promised and deserve should be a top priority of government at all times - not just on patriotic holidays and at election time. Anything less is unacceptable for the thousands of men and women who have helped uphold the ideals of this country.