New Emporia VA clinic celebrated

Published 10:40 am Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guest Column
by Randy Forbes

In 1865, President Lincoln stood on the East Portico of the Capitol to take the executive oath for his second term as President of the United States.

As he stood to deliver his second inaugural address, he faced a country that had been bruised and battered by civil war. The war was one of the costliest and deadliest wars on American soil. It separated families, brought domestic suffering, and pitted brother against brother.

There was hardly a family in the South that did not lose a loved one — a son or brother or father.

As President Lincoln gave his address, the end of the war was only weeks away. And as he addressed a war-battered nation, he made a promise that has become one of the defining characteristics of our great nation — “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan…”

Today, our nation’s veterans, who have selflessly dedicated their lives in service of our nation, have often endured long periods of separation from loved-ones and suffered physical and emotional pain.

Despite the pain many of them have suffered, if you look into their eyes, you will often see a love for their country, a strength for their families, and a courage that is indefinable.

President Lincoln’s promise to care for those who shall have borne the battle ought to be one of our greatest privileges as American citizens. Without the sacrifices of our veterans, our nation would certainly not be as we know it today.

Yet, when it comes to caring for our veterans, in many ways we are sadly falling short, especially when it comes to providing quality hospital care.

Veterans’ hospitals are three-times more overcrowded that non-veterans