Proud To Be An American

I am grateful that I was born in the United States of America because my Polish Grandparents and my Great-Great Grandparents immigrated from Holland. I am here because they took the risk to come to a new country. This week is not only the week we vote but also the week we honor Veterans. My husband is a Veteran of the Viet Nam war. This week I will honor Veterans each day in some way on my Author Page and also on my personal page and my blog Sprinkled Notes. So Veterans, This week

is for you.

My column this week in the Albert Lea Tribune and The Courier-Sentinel

This past week my husband and I visited the VA Clinic in Minneapolis. Since the elections are tomorrow and this is also the week we celebrate our Veterans it might be fitting to write about our experience with the Veterans Administration and the Clinics and healthcare.

We have all heard the horrifying stories of the terrible healthcare and experiences people have had with the VA. But I am here to tell you our experience, and they are all positive experiences.

My husband didn’t get hooked up with the VA System until somewhere in the last ten years. We had an excellent Veterans Administration Officer both in Fairmont and Blue Earth that got the ball rolling for us. It didn’t take long, and my husband was in the system, and the benefits were available to him. He is a Viet Nam Veteran, and it had been hard for him to ask for help because of the stigma of the war. It was something he never talked about.

He was a patient at the VA Clinic in Mankato and then transferred to the Albert Lea VA Clinic when it opened because it was closer to home. We have always been amazed at the care of both places, the ease of getting an appointment and the excellent staff at both clinics.

The Veteran’s Clinic and Hospital in Minneapolis are amazing. They make it very easy to navigate and find your way around with all the volunteers they have to help those Veterans who come though their doors.

We had an appointment for a scan at 10:45. We were early and we checked in. We walked out of the doors of the Clinic at 10:46. And they had told us they were behind schedule. That is another thing we have found. If he has an appointment the wait is longer to get a table in a restaurant than it is to see the Doctor. This has been our experience.

This time at the Minneapolis Clinic I met another friend. Her husband too was there for a scan. I always meet friendly and interesting people on my visits there.  I learned about her family and she learned about mine. We shared experiences and we exchanged names and business cards to keep in touch. I suspect many other people’s lives touch at these facilities because they have a bond of a Veteran.

It is awe inspiring to see so many Veterans in one place, different ages and in different situations health wise. These men and women served our country. These men and women fought for our freedom. These men and women deserve our thanks and respect. These men and women all have lasting effects for their dedication to making our lives better.

The staff at these Veteran’s facilities also deserve our thanks and respect. They work day after day to make the lives of our Veterans better and also the lives of the families of those Veterans.

Does the system have flaws, of course, it does because it is run by human beings and we are a flawed creation. The media spends a great deal of time focusing on those flaws  but I would guess there are more heart and success stories than there are horror stories. We need to focus on the good these facilities, built for our Veterans, do for all of those involved.

 

It is Veteran’s Day on November 11. Thank a Veteran. Thank those also who work to serve Veterans.  Freedom isn’t free and freedom wasn’t meant to be abused. A Veteran protects and serves so those rights can be preserved.

 

When the peace treaty is signed, the war isn’t over for the veterans or the family. It’s just starting —Karl Marlantes

If You See Somone Working, Say Thank You!

14687804116_c553cd4dc4_zIt’s Labor Day. I decided to post a few trivia questions about Labor Day to see if you could answer them or if you want to impress your kids, ask them the questions. I will supply the answers at the end of this column.

Who is considered the father of Labor Day?
When was the first U.S. Labor Day celebrated?

What country is said to have originated the idea to host a Labor Day?

Why do we celebrate Labor Day?

What state was the first state to declare Labor Day a holiday seven years before the president declared it a national holiday?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know the answers. I am sure somewhere in the past I have heard the answers to all of those questions. I would imagine my history teachers when I was in school covered the subject of Labor Day. I wonder how many kids now know why we celebrate Labor Day. Do you suppose history in school covers this today?

I know we anticipate the holiday. Many years kids start school right after the Labor Day holiday. This year all my grandchildren started school many weeks before the holiday weekend, so this weekend is a break from school.

In Minnesota the state fair is on. The Renaissance Festival has begun and festivities abound celebrating the last fun weekend we have before we get back to the grind of normal life after the summer.
Labor Day started as a day to recognize contributions men and women made to the American workforce. In the 19th century, Americans worked 12- hour days, seven days a week. These workers wanted an eight hour workday.

Today we should also be celebrating the American workers. I doubt that the stress workers feel today is any less than those workers protesting when Labor Day was established. We have many people working for minimum wage, working long hours and intensive jobs for little pay, struggling to put food on the table. Because of technology many people are on call 24/7. They can’t get away from the office, and companies expect them to be there when they call. Eight-hour days are not the norm for many. And part of the workforce work two and three jobs to make ends meet.

Jobs are more diverse, and the factory jobs of the past no longer are as prevalent so more education is needed to secure employment.

We still need to celebrate the American worker because they are the backbone of America from garbage collectors to plumbers to doctors and lawyers to the clerk that hands you your coffee in the coffee shop. These people are all needed to make our society work.

So on this day, look around you and if you see someone working, say thank you. And then pat yourself on the back as you leave for work or as you are thankful you are retired from a lifetime of being one of the workers who makes our country run. This is your day. Thank you for what you have contributed.
Answers:

1. Peter McGuire

2. Sept. 5,1882

3. Canada

4. To celebrate the American Worker

5. Oregon