"Old Soldiers Never Die...They Just Fade Away" was a line made famous by Five Star General Douglas MacArthur upon HIS politically motivated release from active duty in the early 1950's. OLD soldiers do BOTH...they fade away...and they DO die. Many have faded into oblivion never experiencing accolades deserved for their sacrifice....never hearing even the semblance of a "thank you."
I am an old soldier who deserves NO applause for my three years in the U. S. Army. I am a peacetime veteran (1957-1960) who does not even qualify for membership in the VFW or the American Legion. I find myself still grateful that I had to shoot at no one, and even MORE thankful that 'they' weren't shooting at ME! Our Commander-in-Chief was, himself, an old soldier. Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower turned President Eisenhower. It is not clear how the Eisenhower 'aura' played into the relative calm....but perhaps it WAS a kinder, gentler time.
Eisenhower was worthy of his leadership role and HIS military record was NEVER an issue!
When I was released from active duty. I was twenty-two tears old. I was not concerned with long term prospects such as aging, health problems, low vision, fixed incomes or even the possiblilty that healthcare costs would make this care financially prohibitive. There was ALWAYS insurance! ( Who knew what upturns premium costs would take?)
The IMPOSSIBLE happened! I aged, started hurting all over, acquired diabetes, lost eyesight, (due to the diabetes) and ended up on a fixed income. I had to retire just before reaching age sixty due to the vision loss. I started receiving Social Security Disability Benefits followed two years later by Medicare Parts "A" AND "B" even though I was only sixty two. This is an automatic transition that occurs after two years on the Social Security Disability program.
Upon reaching age sixty five (BUT PRIOR TO ATTAINING AGE SIXTY FIVE AND A HALF) I obtained supplemental insurance coverage. It is expensive enough but much less than coverage available prior to sixty five.
So with Social Security, Medicare (and later the supplemental coverage), what other coverage is needed...available?
A friend, who had been accepted in the VA program despite being, himself, a peacetime veteran, suggested VA to me. I applied and was accepted and have been in the Department of Veteran's Affairs Healthcare system for about four years.
It is a good, efficient, quality service. I am amazed by the number of veterans who have NOT investigated VA. I am NOT their spokesman, just an old soldier who did nothing noteworthy while wearing the uniform. It's just nice to experience in such a tangible way that the U. S. Government can say "Thank You for your service....even though it WAS a peacetime contribution!"
hmmm, last post didn't work.
I really think with a little work this could become a great published article! It's something that needs to be heard and shared.
By the way, you have a very small typographical error. "financially prohibitive" (4th paragraph down)