Past Event

Café Society: What Do We Owe Veterans?

The United States has sent many men and women out in the service of their country in both visible and invisible wars we have engaged in throughout the last century, such as World Wars I & II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I & II, and Afghanistan.

For many soldiers, their time of service holds a special place in their lives. The camaraderie, sense of purpose and shared struggle they experience during their time in the military remains strong and meaningful. The soldiers face challenges both on and off the battlefield. They sacrifice family, miss births of children, and confront marital tensions caused by their absence. The obvious physical risks of combat are compounded by post-traumatic stress disorder, gulf war syndrome, and exposure to toxins such as Agent Orange or depleted uranium.

As the war in Iraq continues into its second year and the count of dead and wounded grows, there is precious little discussion of the aftermath that participation will visit upon those who have, are, or will serve. As the number of wounded grows, little attention has been paid to the condition of the nation’s network of VA hospitals that will help to heal their wounds and rehabilitate their bodies.

What quality of care should this nation provide to veterans? Is the current level of compensation for men and women who were wounded, sexually assaulted, and temporarily or permanently disabled sufficient? How do we compensate the families of those who have died in the line of duty?

Perhaps most importantly, during a war that the public supports minimally at best, and at worst has withdrawn from apathetically, what sort of a reception can the veterans of the Iraq war expect? Will the shift from drafted personnel to a voluntary military affect how we perceive our debt or deliver gratitude?

This Week’s Articles:

This Café Society topic is related to the Civic Cinema Series: Veterans & War.

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.