The Civilian-Veteran Gap Widens Further?

(Update: Columbia has released audio of the debate.)

Just last week I wrote about ways to bridge the gap between civilians and Veterans. Though many fall prey to cynicism about the rift, I encouraged an optimistic effort on the part of civilians to welcome Vets back into the community. Only then can reintegration after service and war take place.

But as hopeful as I was at the response to the post, I’m equally discouraged about the news coming out of Columbia University. On the same day my post went up, a fellow Iraq Veteran was being heckled and jeered by classmates during a debate on bringing ROTC back to campus following the Vietnam-era ban. According to the New York Post (admittedly, not a paper known for restraint or subtlety), Anthony Maschek faced backlash during the debate, while his peers held signs denigrating the military with hand drawn placards. If there were any doubts that a cultural rift exists between civilians and Veterans, a number of students at Columbia have confirmed what has been known to many of us. A lack of interaction with active duty members and Veterans has bred ignorance, mistrust, and fear that must be reversed if Vets are going to succeed after their service. Listen to a recording of the student heckling.

The obnoxious and offensive behavior of a handful of students, of course, shouldn’t be an indictment of Columbia or Ivy League schools in general. (In fact, as Iraq Vet and Columbia quasi-student Matt Gallagher pointed out, Columbia leads Ivies in student Veteran population). But these events call into question the health of civilian-Veteran relations. The university campus is a flash point for Vets reintegrating back into society, and can often be the first interaction young people have with former service members. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders of the country, and what happens in the classroom has the power to affect civilian and Vet relations for decades after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end. We have to remember what Vietnam taught us: the way Vets reintegrate has a profound impact on their success later in life. So until this troubling behavior disappears from the school campus, Vets will be passed over with their service as a factor, a disturbing trend that has increased recently. Facing stigmas attached to service like PTSD, Vets already have an uphill battle when coming back into an unfamiliar and occasionally hostile society.

Throughout this controversy,  I keep thinking about Anthony Maschek, a disabled Veteran in his first year of college. Secretary Shinseki has given students a new mission: graduate and succeed in the workforce. Mr. Maschek has experienced the ugly side of the civilian-Veteran divide. By living through grievous wounds, his courage and persistence have been laid bare. But how does he go to school tomorrow, and the next day, and sit next to the same students who shouted him down? I remain encouraged by one thought: he grits his teeth and drives on, like he did on the streets of Kirkuk.

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40 Comments to “The Civilian-Veteran Gap Widens Further?”

  1. Richard says:

    He’s not wheelchair-bound. That’s why he was standing at the mike.

    • Alex Horton says:

      I’m trying to contact him to get some of the details straight. He’s in a wheelchair in the photo provided by the NY Post.

      • Matt James says:

        Being wheelchair-bound does not mean he cannot stand to speak at a microphone. It means he has to use the wheelchair as his means of transportation–unable to walk or stand for any extended period of time.

    • Damian Rivera says:

      I know him personally and served with him during both my tours in Iraq. He has a prosthetic leg. He lost it not too long ago from the injuries he suffered roughly two yrs ago. He was an outstanding soldier and an amazing person. There was no need for the type of behavior displayed by those students. It shows the ignorance and discrimination that is still going on in this country towards our vets. As a veteran, I am irate at what happened at the meeting with Anthony but as an American, I am ashamed.

  2. Jim says:

    Perhaps the students weren’t heckling the Vets per se, but rather the war in Afghanistan, following the war in Iraq. Just like back in the 60′s we have another unpopular conflict we are sending our troops to as cannon fodder and once again students are protesting the war. And once again our government lied about the reason for this present war just like they did for Viet Nam.

    Dominoe theory vs Taliban taking over the world. The first didn’t happen and I seriously doubt the second will occur…Just can’t imagine anyone forcing American men to have a “three finger Taliban beard” or making American women wear burqas.

    If this were a true volunteer military, those serving would be able to volunteer to not engage in a conflict. And don’t all soldiers, sailors, marines, and air force people have a conscience?

    I was young and a soldier once too so now I also am a vet.

    • Alex Horton says:

      I have no doubts they wanted to speak out against the wars. But their mistake was to take their anger out on a man that had nothing to do with planning foreign policy objectives. Their boorish behavior should be directed at their elected officials who decide where, how and why we go to war. This man had nothing to do with that.

    • ruby says:

      Jim:
      I don’t know how old you are or when you served, but during the Viet Nam era the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines were the ones being heckled and beaten! They were “baby killers” “rapists” and so on.
      The anti-war protesters were not only protesting against the war, but they blamed the military members for everything. This is very reminiscent of it.
      These students were heckling this decorated veteran.
      I quote: “Racist!” some students yelled at Anthony Maschek
      It’s one thing not to support the war, another thing not to support the military members.

    • Shawn says:

      Jim:

      Your theory in itself means the students have now just become ignorant. If they’re against the United States sending out our troops as Cannon Fodder, then why would they harass and heckle the same people that their concerned enough about to voice an opinion? Everyone can understand if this were a draft again, that such logic would make complete sense and be reasonable, but it’s not the case. We are in a voluntary enlistment basis currently, meaning everyone willingly raises their right hand and says they are willing to protect this country from all enemies foreign and domestic. When you enlist in the military currently, at some point, and forgive me for not remember exactly which step, but they ask you if you are willing to fight in a combat situation or not. It’s a pretty straight forward questions that if not in agreement, you then will take your exit. You can’t have service members picking and choosing what they will and will not participate in, it breaks morale, unit cohesion amongst other things. But I digress, the point being, the men and women that join the armed forces do so willingly, and do what their government asks of them. Returning to civilian life shouldn’t mean harassment of those voluntary members, by civilians who are ignorant to whats happening in this world because they are against the war for endangering the same person that’s currently being harassed. It’s that logic that brings this country to a full circle of stupidity and only continues the trend, instead of helping them realize as you’ve said, they are men and women with consciences. They shouldn’t be denied their opinion as a human just because they were at one point in the armed services. The debate was over bringing ROTC back to campus’, not the United States current involvement with other countries. Had the debate been on artifacts, I wouldn’t disregard the archaeologists opinion of the subject just because the archaeology community might have said something in the past that I don’t agree with morally.

    • nikomo says:

      the age group and socio-economic status of the students in these institutions of higher learning tend to be of the nurtured group and are prone to a liberal lean(actually liberalism is age specific).
      but when faced with members of the same generation who have real”world” experience, conflict is likely to arise.
      to be sure that instead of an open learning society in training the instructors tend to promote closed minded agendas, in a sad attempt to make thier mark in history by denegrating those who have and will.

  3. Jeff says:

    I’m starting to get the uncomfortable feeling that a certain segment of our population is beginning to think that they can join the military and then opt out of serving in a combat situation if they are not in agreement with the mission. That’s the road of ruin for America, if members of the military get the idea that they can decide for themselves whether they feel like following their orders.

    Served U.S. Navy 1982-1994.

    • Alexandria says:

      Jeff, especially in those cases where people took that weekend check a month and the two week check a summer for years…..then when called to be deployed for active duty, they complained about the war lol

      If you don’t want to engage in conflict…..DO NOT join the military. This is the mission of the Army: “The Army’s mission is to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.” I am quire sure every branch has a mission that includes conflict.

      This is a true volunteer military……you have the choice to join the service. If you don’t agree with the mission of the military, then don’t join. You can’t pick and choose what missions you are going to go on.
      Proud to have served 1993-1999

      • Tammy Duckworth says:

        Alexandria

        I have to point out that you are stereotyping members of the Reserve Forces. I have served my entire 19-yr career in either the Reserves or National Guard and was proud to deploy to Iraq. In fact, I volunteered because I had been training my entire career and knew it was time to do my part. Please resist the temptation to label all Reserve Forces members as not ready for combat. After almost a decade of joint service between active and reserves, we are beyond the bad old days when brothers and sisters in arms disrespect one another. Such divisions have the potential to spill over into the Veteran community and that is not something that we need. we have more important work to do to take care of each other.

  4. Bill says:

    I don’t agree with heckling veterans (as I am a Gulf Vet) but I strongly support keeping ROTC out of colleges, halting the fly overs for every major sports event, etc etc. Throughout modern history, the troops are used to test some form of chemical or biological agent, and then get a run around on treatment. Our last President started two wars while cutting VA benefits, and the Tea Party wants to get rid of VA Benefits all together. I think you’d have to be a fool to be in today’s military. Wave flags as you march to war, forget you as soon as you are gone.

    • Steve says:

      Biil,

      I googled that up about what you posted regarding the TEA party. I found It was Bachmann who has been pushing for reduction in Veterans benefits. It is a very radical proposal given we are in two wars, and older veterans from previous conflicts are requiring more care.

      These types are all for using veterans for photo ops with vets wearing organization garrison caps or visiting wounded…
      Once the cameras are LOOK OUT BOHICA.

      Glad to see the veterans organizations dealing with this. However they need to be more vocal. As in 2009 When the President tried to divert VA costs to private employee insurance for combat related injuries. That idea lasted about 72 hours before an about face.

  5. Matty says:

    The preferred term is “wheelchair user,” not “wheelchair bound.” Many people who use wheelchairs can walk for short distances or stand for a short time.

  6. Chana says:

    when a person joines the military, they do so with the knowledge that there may be a conflict they will have to participate in. Its not a 9 to 5 job where you can choose to call in sick. This was my very first job at 17 years old and I went in knowing there may be a chance I would have to put my life on the line.

  7. Jason says:

    Alex,
    I took a weekend check and a two week check for 6 years. I know you didn’t mean anything negative by saying that but it did kinda come off that way. I personally decided to join the NG over Active Duty based on the fact that I would be able to serve my community as well as my country. I had multiple deployments locally for state emergencies, a deployment to New Orleans for Katrina, and a deployment to Iraq where I conducted Tier 1 PSD for a year. Granted we have our cry babies but so does AD.

    • Alex Horton says:

      I appreciate the service for anyone in active duty and the Guard/Reserve. These days, the line is blurred with multiple deployments overseas.

      I didn’t make that comment though, someone named Alexandria did. Thought I should clarify.

  8. Rude behavior by ignorant people is nothing new. When you crunch the numbers around the Viet Nam war in places like Laos and Cambodia you can figure that the US intervention at that time saved at least two million Vietnamese lives. Yet when we came back to America as Veterans nasty things were said and done to many of us. Our boys are risking their lives for the freedom to speak all over the world. They are saving thousands of women from thoughtless persecution. There are alot of guys out there who only parrot what the politician of the hour has to say. You can not take it to heart.

  9. Will says:

    Here is my opinion on our leaders…and again THIS IS MY OPINION…I think anyone that has anything to do with our military personnel going somewhere or doing something should have serve in our military. How can you sit there and send troops to harms way and never have served or been away from your family for any givien time. That is to include our President. I dont think we should have President that has never served. Other countries do it, all of their leaders must serve before they can become Leaders of their country, so, why is it that we don’t…We the people need to make these changes. MY OPINION…hope not to offend anyone by this.

    Proudly Serve in the United States Army 1987-2009

    • John Chris Carracher, PsyD says:

      Heck, I would be satisfied if Congress (the official voice of the people) would stop playing games with our combat troops by avoiding a clear declaration of war before we commit our troops for the long term at any time over any dispute. It seems to me that the last time the civilian population ever substantially supported troops-and veterans-was World War II. As it happens WW II is the last time the US Congress showed the courage and bravery evoking the Constitution directly (as is their responsibility) instead of weaseling their way around their duty by evoking the War Powers Act. Since the creation and implementation of this act, the Congress has been able to shift total responsibility for military operations on the Commander-in-Chief. Through such an approach, our Congress is able to side-step it’s obigations and responsibilites to each and every service member and to each and every veteran. As a country, we should never engage in combat operations and commit our troops without such a declaration because the US population will follow the lead of their representatives in Congress; the population will support and honor our troops when the Congress takes a stand. When Congressional support is luke warm at best or becomes another “political football” how can anyone expect the civilian population to be any different?

  10. Greg says:

    It has been a long Honeymoon but it has be coming to an end for ten years now. We can expect more of this kind of behavior. Our nations love affair with it’s military is coming to an end like a bad marriage.

    Never fear my brothers ans sisters in arms. Although retired from active duty I stand ready to defend you and your way of life as you defend me and those less appreciative.

    I thank all who have served and are serving and I hold no respect for those unwilling to do the same or speak badly of the great Americans who do/have.

    US Army Nov 73 – Dec 93

  11. leslie wohlfeld says:

    those whom are in college will not have the benefit of going in the first place with out the sacrifices of the military and veterans.

    even though they be a ‘very small group…’ their voices did get heard. maybe the ‘larger group’ ie columbia come out with a statement.

    horrible and columbia is a yellow ribbon college. taking federal money, is this the type of college i want to attend. i dont think so.

  12. Jane E. Andrew says:

    We have not had Selective Service (the draft) for many years. If that were still in place, I think young people would be more aware of what the volunteer services do for our country. I live near what used to be Fort Devens in Massachusetts (Devens was shut down in 1995) and only a portion of the land is being used for training. When I see anyone in uniform, I take the opportunity to thank him/her for their service in spite of my personal feelings about wars, past or current. As for Michelle Bachmann, I blame the fact that she gets so much attention on what I call “The Dumbing Down of America”. How else can we explain TEA Partiers, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, etc.? Note that all those who voted for Obama in 2008 retreated into the woodwork during the 11/02/10 election. That was an clear example of “Lord, give me patience! And I want it now!” Dumbing down example? Using “that” instead of “who” while referring to people in the previous entries. Go figure! Maybe it’s true that people get the government they deserve.

  13. Edward Buswell says:

    I would tell Anthony Maschek that he should take into consideration the whole picture and realize the nature of the beast he is squaring off with.I see people in the U.S. all the time literally ignore,make fun of,or act in disgust when a veteran or disabled veteran interacts with them.It is the fruit of the beast.The beast is the socialist liberal progressive communist organization thats inside every aspect of amearican institutions in the 21st century working to destroy the constitution and force us to capitulate to a socialist planned government agenda and society..(including many professors and the NEA).You need to recognize your enemies,and engage them effectivly with tools and plans that are designed to eradicate them.(action,not arguments).As far as todays students being tomorrows leaders if some don’t wake up and understand that their competition is trying to destroy their freedom from opression by socialist tyranny,and will eventually ultimately tell them they have no more say in anything,because they now live in the new communist/socialist/global society.( all under the guise of radical environmentalism and socialized planning).If u don’t effectively create your own organization of people and counter and defeat them,u will become consumed by them,the beast.Last some make it sound like Viet Nam vets all became unsuccessful due to being spat on returning from that war.Well,let me tell you something…theres not one Viet Nam vet thats inferior to all those commune/communistic radical leftist liberal progressive socialist sorry excuses for human beings in society.They are scum,always have been and continue to be,(and appear in many forms,aka: government employees,state employees,college deans,college professors,judges,law enforcement,secretarys of treasury,ect.ect.)thats why they treated you the way they did at columbia.They are the weaklings of this earth that never have known adversity and can only retain strength when combined with other similar anti-american associations.Alone they are the dregs of society and truly do not care about you,any other veteran,or a soviergn America and constitution.

    • Jane E. Andrew says:

      Sir? Are you loco or what? Don’t you know the difference between “bad” socialism (Stalin-era communism) and “good” socialism? The New Deal under FDR and Medicare/Medicaid under LBJ and your Social Security benefits are the most recent examples of how our government looks after its citizens. Try Googleing “dialectical materialism” and Mao’s treatises on “thesis/antithesis”. Are you personally going to repair the roads and bridges all by yourself? And refuse any police protection if you’re a victim of a crime? Or refuse to admit the fire department if your house catches on fire. Many countries have varying degrees of “socialism”: Norway, Sweden, Canada, European countries who rose from the ashes of the Armageddon of WWII. Get educated, my friend. You’ll see that it’s not possible for one person to be an island.

      • Tim says:

        Please Please Please move to some other country. Madoff had a ponzi scheme, and got locked up. Social Security, medicare, medicaid are ponzi schemes… Dont touch my money…. if you want benefits or retirement, then go earn them. Its not the governments job to take from me and give to another.

        Roads are a matter of national security and necessary for commerce. They are publicly used and EVERYBODY needs them. The police are inept and I DO REFUSE POLICE “protection”. I look after myself. Thanks.

        You have a lot to learn. Those other countries can afford socialist ideas because THEY RELY ON US TO SPEND OUR MONEY ON MILITARY AND DEFENSE AND COME TO THEIR AID WHENEVER THEY NEED IT! Taxes should go to national defense, infrastructure (power, roads, comm), and NOT to lazy people like you. The new deal was the biggest first step to the downfall of America.

  14. Richard P says:

    William Eldrick – Thank you for looking up the Numbers, I was there when the Kahmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia, I lost touch with a good number of So Vietnamese friends. I was attached, spit on, and called all sorts of names on my return. I would have thought society had gotten beyond that. These guys did not make the choice to go to Afghanistan or Iraq, they just followed orders. People/students be angry with those in high places, if your going to be angry with anyone
    Jim – You speak to a Domino theory – Get this Islam is very much an Expansionist Religion, and you either accept it or die, this for many is not a choice. You are ignoring the effects in France and Europe as a whole. Do you want Sharia Law to be enforced here in the US or to have a Dual Standard of Law? Afghanistan is the root for the Taliban and Al-Quaida, that is a fact. And another Fact – the 9-11 Hijackers were Al-Quaida trained. When you took the Oath you swore to Defend the Constitution Against All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic. As such you agreed to write that check, up to an including your Life. I’m a Vietnam and Desert Storm Veteran. Yes I am a Vet, and I have encountered your type of vets before, and have some knowledge of what these guys deal with everyday. They are service to preserve Your PRIVILEGE to sit safe at home without fear.
    Bill – Where would you propose to train future officers, they cannot all go to one of the Military Academy’s? ROTC is an add-on to their eduction, and a way for them to get the Military Training they may need to lead their charges/soldiers. As to Fly-by’s, As a Veteran nothing sounds sweeter than the roar and thunder of Military Air Power.
    Jason – Joining the NG vs Reserves, I see no dishonor in that, and at the time if you were called to be deployed, you probably would have. Your service at home is just as important as those who go overseas. I hope that I did not offend you when I said “your Type of Vets before”. Those guys are paper tigers, and do not support the veteran or honor his sacrifice. PTSD is a real disease, do not minimalize its effect on the person,their families or those around them.
    Will – It would be my preference too that the Commander-in-Chief/President were to have some military background. But it has been a long time since WWII, Korea and Vietnam, those veterans are getting old. President George HW Bush (Bush 1) had the experience and sense to put qualified people where they were needed (Gen. Powell). But that requirement (Military Experience) is not part of the Constitutional Qualifications for President. We live in a Democracy, and it would be wonderful to have someone of experience leading this country.
    People – Our Military deserves ALL the Respect Their Service Demands. They should not be the focal point of your disagreements with the government. This is an All Volunteer Force, you don’t want to go back to the days of the Draft. Whether he needs a Wheelchair for mobility, Crutches for stability or able to stand on his own – He Deserves Respect! and Civility. For God’s Sake, you are supposed to be striving for an education to be an intellectual person, show it.

  15. ross says:

    I am a veteran of Viet Nam and served almost 9 years off and on having been recalled to active duty once. I am incensed, embarrased and ashamed of the so called intellectual students who are so narrow minded that they can’t see the forest for the trees. I think I am qualified to speak ou as I was a student before and after the Viet Nam war. I went back to school after I got out to get advanced degrees so I heard and experienced the ignorance, prejudice and filthy statements made by the students. If they are to dumb, stupid or ignorant not to realize that the soldier is doing what he is oredered to do by an elected political official who has an agenda that may or may not be in the best interest of the country then these students better study harder. I cannot abide stupidity and the inability to think clearly and rationally. If these students don’t wake up I truly fear for my country.

  16. I got lost on the way to boot camp because I wanted to enlist at a higher pay grade.

    I blew out my back but wish my heart or mind would have been blown instead.

    I would have retired last year and still, to this day, yearn for to serve my country.

    There is war on our southern border and it’s spilling and being supported across our border.

    Now, our troops have to come home after serving in the suck to idiots trying to recreate an era that today has no place.

    My friends, people wouldn’t do this in my neck of the woods as if they did they’d be on a rail out of town.
    (More rather taken out in the swamps and tied to the stumps and the alligators and rattlers and bugs will do the rest…)

    Anyway.

    I pray I’m not the only one who feels like this – as if they were screwed by fate.

    If you do, you need to be vocal and let them know – for every protester they have they’ll have a civilian soldier to deal with.

  17. Brenda Hayes says:

    Alex,

    Is this the first I have heard of this type of thing happening in almost 10 years?

    I think what happened is serving its immediate purpose. How many posts in such a short period of time? Can’t think of when the American citizens, no matter what their ages, have protested this War in some type of a partially vehement way.

    The veterans, whomever they will be, are just collateral damage, except “just” psychologically, not physically, as they are more familiar with as being soldiers.

    Now with everything seeming to hit the wall more quickly than ever, not only here in our own Country, but as well abroad, especially in the Middle East. We have been seeing play by plays nightly and our psyches are almost filled to the brim with our fears. Fears for the present and for the future of most of our American citizens is what is realistically coming to the forefront and it is usually our young students who start the call to arms (even though it is more verbal) Anyone remember Kent State?

    The distaste and unrest has been on a slow smolder for some time. The global economy is tanking and no one knows what to do about it.

    People are becoming more scared each day; with cutbacks, disapperance of modern day Ponzi schemes of Government grants, States talking bankruptcy, fuel prices jumping, food costs increasing; and, even now we finally have someone speaking the truth such as our new House Speaker Boehmer. Remember, he said the other day, “…folks…we are broke!”

    Hat tricks with the banks, mortgage companies, Wall Street, etc. aren’t working as well anymore or the American people are pulling back the curtain and seeing that there is no Wizzard of Oz. Again, its to modern technolgy, the social networking of blogs, twitters, facebook–the internet. You just can’t put the Genie back in the bottle!!

    We see what is happening in the Middle East and just a token of protest is happening in Wisconsin… and the whole truth about how bad our systems are broken is just beginning to unfold.

    Expect such to happen. Prepare our Vets before they get out; brief them on modern day sociology.

    The way I see it; most Veterans obey orders and do what they are told. If they are told it is a War for…whatever reason, they go whether it’s because a paycheck comes with the orders or they feel a heart-felt duty to their Country. But, it’s not the purpose when they become active soldiers. Their mission is twofold a) Win the “War” b) take care of your fellow soldier; help bring each other back or never leave anyone behind.

    B becomes the soldier’s focus: you never leave your fellow soldier in danger or behind and this becomes the core ethos of the soldier.

    I’ve never heard a Viet Nam Vet talk about “how they won the War”. I’ve only heard about those brothers they lost and the brotherhood that continues to exist among them.

    These young people don’t understand this unwritten principle of brotherhood.
    They have not walked in those “combat boots”; nor felt the feelings of being hit by sniper fire, IED, or a full blown attack.

    I, as a civilian, only understand because I have been married to my Viet Nam Vet soldier for over 32 years.

    I think our young people (and maybe not so young) are seeing the fallacy of most wars; not all, but most Wars. This “war” can’t be Won as it was initially planned; or perhaps not as planned.

    Our Country is falling apart at the seams and we are continuing to hear our children and grandchildren will not have the lifestyle that we have had; maybe there will be no retirement for a lot of upcoming seniors.

    Those students think they know why and they feelbetrayed, angry, desparate, and feel the “helplessness” somewhat akin to our PTSD soldiers. Not to compare the same; but just to have some inkling of what maybe they are feeling.

    Our soldiers come home and have to “fight” all over; with the VA, the acceptance of their disabilities, their vestiges (in a lot of cases) of their marriages/families, and the loss of their old selvs. They have to learn how to grieve for all of that..and now, they have to be prepared to wear their invisible battle shields to ward off comments that hurt, wound, and often will set off maybe their still sleeping PTSD.

    Perhaps, on some level, the students (or others) are thinking that if no one joined the military; there would be no wars. I think they are thinking about the old axiom of …if you don’t learn by history; then history will repeat itself.

    I do not justify their actions; I just can make an attempt to understand them. I am concerned with our reintergration of young men and women veterans. I do think they need to be debriefed with what truly to expect and why.

    Our Veterans also need to remember not to kill the messengers…they just haven’t figured out how to deliver their anger (fear)and their message and to whom; but I fear it is coming.

    I just heard the other day about the young fruit seller who doused himself with gas and lit himself in flames in utter frustration of corruption and lack of dignity and respect for himself and his countrymen. His actions brought about a succesfful people’s revolution for truth, democracy, and freedom.

    It happened in a little town in the Middle East–Wazuzu?– and even though he finally succumbed to his burns; it started with his ultimate sacrifice of himself.

    These American students are finally taking a stance and voicing their frustrations and in doing so– again, not justifying their actions; I see them taking on probably alot of the silent voices of a lot of Americans.

    These students are not the self-sacrifing Monks nor a young fruit seller trying to make a living for his family; but they finally have taken a stand.
    It might be what really brings our soldiers home, like those “thoughtless” people who helped bring our Viet Nam Veterans home–no excuses.

    Just my opinion.

    BH
    Vetwife Advocate

  18. AJ says:

    Forget all this stupidity about government officials and all this political pshycobable…We all serve in this military together and we are tired of people protecting those who want to see us dead because they cant handle the thought of someone putting their country above their own life…All I can say is put these people in a combat zone and let them feined for themselves or send them to a country that doesnt have the same freedoms as us and they will come to see that what we sacrifice is not worthy of what these people say…

    US ARMY Nov04-Present

  19. Mariane says:

    Anthony Maschek traveling around the campus of Columbia University in a wheelchair. That’s enough to understand why the students of Columbia University may heckle him and resent his suggestion to bring ROTC to Columbia University.

  20. freakydeak says:

    If you think that’s bad, try being a vet working at a VA Hospital and your co-workers hate you because your a vet (especially a female vet). I guess they really hate you if there’s a RIF.

  21. johnny comes home says:

    its the same issue all over again.

    no respect for the military , the hypocricy of it all, the glorious rhetoric and then the sad reality sets in..

    those college kids were smart out right and were accepted to universtiy proabaly on scholarships…

    there is social class and mental classifications that will never be removed for society . this is the reason , one must recognize this for what it is..

  22. If students are not in agreement with the mission, and if they think their sacrifice is not worthy, the gap will widen.

  23. Charles P. Lamont says:

    Hello again Alex. I know you wont remember me, however I wrote you about 8 different messages reference my disability claim that I have been working on since July 2008. I one of my messages I said that I was finally going to have my C&P examination, and you replyed to let you know how it went. Well I had my examination on 31 March 2011, and it was very hard bringing up the things that happened in Vietnam the 2 years I was there. Anyway the reason I am writing is the doctor I saw was with the QTC Medical Group in San Bernadino California, when the examination was over the doctor said that my report would be at the Los Angeles VA office on the following monday. I have called the 1-800-827-1000 number numerous times and they keep saying that my case is with the reviewing officer and when it is finished they will send me a letter. Well Alex it is now 20 April 2011 and I am still getting the same message. I really feel that the Veterans administration really does not care about the Vietnam Veteran and they really hope that we will die off. This will probably be the last message I will be sending you. As I close I want to thank you for your service to our country, and I hope that the veterans administration will take better care of the modern day veteran. In closing God bless you and the United States of America.

    • Alex Horton says:

      Hey Charles, I do remember you! I don’t know the average waiting time to hear about an update. Did they say when to expect one? It just takes time, unfortunately.

  24. charles p. lamont says:

    Good afternoon, this message is for anyone who will listen. Alex I appreciate all that you are doing for the modersdn daty veterans. God know they deserve it. I guess my question, when will all you people who work for the Veterans Administration are going to quick puyshing the Vietnam Veteran aside just waiting for him or her to die off. I hope that you all can live with your selfs on the way the Vietnam Veteran is being treated. Alex it has been 3 years since I first filed my disability request and 90 days since I had my C & P examination still no word. Why is the Veterans administration in Los Angeles affraid to give anyt telephone numbers out so a veterans can contact them. Tomorrow is the 4th of July and that is the date that this great nation really started. I for one have given over 26 years of my life for my country so that we all my have our freedom. I know that the veterans administration really do not care. In closing I want to say God Bless America and all her Vetrerans.