30. Stand Down / I might go to Nashville 10/12-10/14

Dear Wanderingvets and Friends
I am reading these Stand Downs and I am interested in a few things. I have been reading all the news coverages and watching the videos of networks footage. The great thing about the internet is that it stores things forever. What I have not seen in any of the footage at all is any success stories. What I have seen makes me sort of sad. I am surmising, and I might be wrong as I am inclined to be, that many of these veterans have been on the streets for years homeless. That they are already in the VA system. That they did not fall off the turnip wagon yesterday, and were at the Stand Downs over previous years, and the VA had not really followed up on them. I hope someone really gets mad at me over this one! I really hope I am wrong here and someone lights my ass up and tells me I am wrong and that these stand downs are getting people their long over due disability pensions and not just being an annual haircut and luncheon. I saw a quote from a VA director from one Stand Down saying “we’ll be back next year” What I noted was the absence of him saying anything glorious about any successes his region has had with the Stand Downs so I was disheartened. In another article I read, it ended with “a veteran turned down a sleeping bag because he could not carry anything else as he was leaving”. It made it sound like the vets were there for the free goodies and then when they were done picking over the goodies everyone left. I know I sound tough here, but the system is making me so. I see a lot of dog and pony shows and a lot of statistics and see nothing getting done. And the stuff that is getting done is being done by volunteers bringing relief because the system is not working! We have stand downs to bring the system to the homeless veterans (now that is sad) because the system kicked out the veterans. I might travel to Operation Stand Down in Nashville for the three days to see how this thing works. Not that I am a miracle worker, but a vet like myself, who will hop a few tractor trailers over a long distance, will seriously not mind getting in front of a few cameras and telling a story of why this has all come about. Maybe I need to shut up, but if the system worked we would not have a Stand Down, this Blog would not exist, you would be reading poetry or comic books etc. I think it is time for the trenches to be heard from, not a sound bite from a VA employee, but someone to go up to Mr/Ms Microphone and say “hey you really want a sound bite or you just doing a fluff piece”?

Your Correspondent


3 Responses to “30. Stand Down / I might go to Nashville 10/12-10/14”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    October 5, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    What is a stand down? Are these usually held at VA locations? and where do you read all the articles you mention. In the local papers here we do not see anything about homeless vets? How can local people get involved? Not only homeless vets but homeless people in the USA is unreal. I have always felt we need to help our homeless americans before we look at other countries in need.

  2. 2 wanderingvet
    October 6, 2007 at 12:23 am

    These are gathering where volunteer groups bring together VA services and other agencies to homeless veterans. see http://www.nchv.org/page.cfm?id=122

  3. 3 Raja29
    October 6, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    First I want to say thank you for your comments. The Salt Lake City, Utah VAMC is having a stand down on November 2nd of this year. I have recently become the Utah State Leader for Soldiers Angels, so this is my first Stand down. I will be sure to let you know what my experiences are. It’s a little far from where you are, but you are definitely welcome! I’ve also added your blog as a link on the Utah state blog. utahstateblogva.blogspot.com

    Thank you for your service!!

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