A Legacy of Service, Hope for the Future

DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is the most long-lasting veterans advocacy and assistance group in this country. We’ve watched this country change and grow, and we’ve grown along with it. However, DAV has never wavered in its core mission to fulfill our country’s promises to the men and women who served. We invite everyone, veterans and civilian, men and women, young and old, to join us as we stand up for those veterans who risked it all when they stood up for us, our country, and our ideals.

J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant

Our duty as patriots

The great American novelist who gifted the world with the iconic adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer is also known to have briefly served—and deserted—the Confederate Army during the nation’s Civil War.

Despite his talent for prose, which left a lasting mark on the landscape of American literature, Twain was  long criticized for his decision to flee from his military obligations. At a time when American men waged war against their own brothers, Twain was troubled by the very nature of the conflict…and the purpose for which his beloved Missouri had recruited him into service.

This brief period of service during the Civil War changed the course of Twain’s life, as did future wars and periods of military service for future generations.

Twain once wrote about how true patriotism means supporting our country through and through, at all times. But patriotism, he explained, also demands we pay attention and speak up when we see flaws. I believe we must also speak up when we see commendable progress.

One can easily apply this to the Department of Veterans Affairs. We have a duty to ensure the VA is properly serving veterans. We have seen how chronic underfunding and unrealistic expectations have left the department, and we have to work to make that right.

No system will ever be perfect, and the VA has come under the microscope for every flaw over the past year. It’s right and just to admit  and discuss these faults plainly and openly so we may work to correct them, but we should not lose sight of the tremendous work the VA does each and every day for the vast majority of veterans.

Some groups have proposed a radical overhaul of VA, with no concrete plans to rebuild a better performing system or guarantees of accountability or enhanced access. While I understand the desire for change, the best way we can speak up and take corrective action is to reinforce our VA system, making it stronger and more efficient for veterans today and in the future.

Veterans deserve a system that makes them the top priority. They deserve care that is coordinated and envelops all aspects of their  well-being. Care for the whole veteran is what we’re after, and that simply isn’t something we can afford to sacrifice.

At its core, the VA has an honorable mission. But people and politics have created roadblocks within the system. As veterans and as  patriots, we must work to root out the problems, strengthen the VA and restore it to an institution worthy of the patients it cares for.

If you want to find out more about the National Adjutant, you can find his biography here.