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Opinion: A duty to compensate hurt soldiers

Dear Congress,
When my husband was gearing up to deploy in 2006 it was the scariest thing I had ever dealt with. He is the love of my life, and the thought of him going to war terrified me. At the time our three children were 5, 3 and 1. He was in Baghdad, Iraq, from July 2006-September 2007.
He came home with the knowledge that he would be deploying for another long tour in 2009. This time he was in (Lord knows where) Afghanistan from October 2009-December 2010. This was the hard tour for the family. In Iraq we were lucky enough to be able to Skype. Afghanistan was a different story. We would go weeks with nothing from him. For me, I don’t think the emotional scars from the last deployment will ever heal. To top things off, my husband came back broken. All of this he has endured with the strength, pride and grace that I admire him for.
When a soldier goes away for a deployment they write a letter to their family in case they don’t make it home. And yet they go. A soldier knows that they might not come home in the same shape as they left. And yet they go. A soldier has to face the fact that they will be missing out on countless precious moments with their friends and family. And yet they go.
They go with the thought that if they die while they are serving their country, the government will take care of their family. They go with the belief that if something happens to them physically while serving their country, the government will take care of them. My husband left with those beliefs, and now suffers from tinnitus, traumatic brain injury, and constant pain from a severe back injury from his deployments. He does get a disability check, or at least he did.
And yet he still chooses to serve. This is where I start having a problem.
It’s easy for the government to ask men and women to go on a deployment, face the unknown and deal with all of the hardships that come with it. Apparently it’s not as easy for the government to take care of the veteran after they get home.
My husband still chooses to serve his country, but it’s the law that he can’t receive all of his disability pay while receiving his drill pay. I’m wondering, just because he’s at drill, does that make his pain go away? If so, then that might be worth it. But that is not the case. He suffers from his injuries every day. I understand it’s the law, but why is it the law? He deserves his disability check. Every single penny, plus. Just because something is a law, doesn’t make it right.
To me the disability check my husband is supposed to be getting each month is an “I’m sorry we broke you” check. A disability check should be a guarantee for a veteran for the rest of his/her life. Regardless if he/she fully retires, chooses to still serve, or wins the lottery. Nothing should change the soldier getting that check.
I am sure that many other soldiers depend on these checks to support their families. How many veterans are still serving and are having the same problem as us, I don’t know. However, what will happen if these patriots need to decide whether to continue serving or bow out to receive their full compensation. Are we as a country willing to let good, well-trained, seasoned soldiers leave because they cannot receive their benefits?
When our soldiers come home hurt, it is our country’s duty to compensate them. If they are still willing and able to serve through their pain, then we are lucky to have such dedicated men and women.
Time to change the law.
Elizabeth Roy
Bristol

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