Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump to Attend New York City Veterans Day Parade

 

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs announced on Friday that President Trump would be the first president in United States history to attend the New York City Veterans Day parade on Monday. This will be the centennial of the annual commemorations on this date, starting as Armistice Day, then changing during World War II to Veterans Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth. New York City reportedly hosts the largest Veterans Day parade in the country.

It will be interesting to see if the left shows up to disrupt with their usual violent street theater. Do the mayor and governor have to show up and make nice? It would be nice to just look forward to great pictures and video of the parade participants and appreciative crowds focused on honoring our veterans.

And what about that press conference? The Q&A is informative, as the Secretary blows through the opening hostile questions and works on to substantive questions with great historical and organizational knowledge. Who knew that the Army started tracking suicide during the administration of Benjamin Harrison, concerned about our frontier army? Who knew that the suicide rates around World War I were highest among non-deployers?

Secretary Wilkie sure seems to be a first rate talent in an administration the establishment would have us believe are “a second-string, ragtag, unled army.” Finally, we have a president that will not settle for cabinet members who pass the Washington social sniff test. Finally, we have a president who takes his campaign promises deadly serious. Finally, we have a president who insisted on real reform and real choice for veterans. Finally, the VA bureaucracy may be dragged into living up to its Obama era 2013 “I CARE” core values.


Press Briefing by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie

November 8, 2019

SECRETARY WILKIE: Hello, everybody. Thank you all for coming. This is our week of weeks at the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is the week that we honor the 41 million Americans who have put on the uniform since the first shots were fired at Lexington Green in April of 1775.

Last night, the President held a ceremony with the National commanders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and Rolling Thunder to permanently honor those POWs and MIAs who have been lost to the history books since our first war in the 1700s. He ordered the flying of the POW and MIA flag at all federal departments and agencies. And that was an important first step on this Veterans Day, 101 years after the end of the Great War. And the President will be following that up with his attendance at the New York City Veterans Day Parade, the first President to attend America’s largest parade, on Monday.

I am here to talk a little bit about the state of our VA.
It is — it is my honor to have been the Secretary, now for a year and three months. As General Mattis used to say, “I was born in khaki diapers.” So this is the world that I grew up in. And I want to say that this President was the first in the post-World War Two history to make veterans not only the centerpiece of his campaign, but also the centerpiece of his administration.

And he has made true to his commitments by authorizing us to present to the Congress the largest budget in the history of this department: $220 billion calling for 400,000 employees.

We have, in the last year, achieved the highest patient satisfaction rates in VA’s history, sitting somewhere at about 89.7 percent.

The annals of the American Medical Association and the annals of Internal Medicine have said, just in the last year, that VA’s healthcare is as good or better than any in the private sector. And our wait times are more than comparable with the private sector.

Under President Trump, our veterans are voting with their feet. This year of 2019, we have already had 3 million more appointments at VA than we did last year. The Veterans of Foreign Wars in their annual survey said that 9 out of 10 of their millions of members are completely satisfied with the way VA takes care of them. And those 9 out of 10 said that they are recommending to their comrades, who are not in VA, to join with us.

We’re also in the middle of the greatest transformational period in our history. We have launched the MISSION Act — the MISSION Act that finally integrates VA with the entire American healthcare system. But more importantly, fulfilling the President’s promise, this puts veterans at the center of their healthcare decisions, not the institutional prerogatives of VA, but veterans.

We finally give veterans the option of going into the private sector, if VA cannot provide them the healthcare that they need, or they live too far away from a VA Health Center that would not be conducive to their needs or their family’s needs.

The other thing that we have done: We have finally put our veterans on the same plane as their neighbors. America’s veterans now have access to urgent care. We are keeping them out of the emergency room with things like fever, the flu, or a sprained ankle.

The last few months since MISSION was kicked off on June 6th, we’ve had 70,000 urgent care visits. In addition to that, we’re seeing about 5,000 visits a week. We’ve certified 6,000 urgent care facilities across America; we want to get up to 7,500.

In addition to what we have done that is visible to the entire country, the President has asked us to engage in fundamental reforms that are less visible to the general public.

Next year, we will be launching the electronic health record. For the first time, anyone who enters the military through a military entrance processing station will have an electronic health record that will be accessible to VA once that young American leaves the service. For the first time, we will prevent people, like my father, after 30 years of military service, from carting around an 800-page paper record, and we will have an entire history of that veteran’s service stateside, in war, and overseas.

The other things that we have been doing: We have reformed our supply chain; we entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Defense to finally computerize and nationalize VA supply chain. So we will no longer have stories about doctors at DCVA running across the street to MedStar to get equipment that they should have had to begin with. In addition to that, we are reforming our HR system.

One of the things that I discovered when I began service on August 1st — I asked a fundamental military question to senior leaders in our department: How many people do we have on the rolls? I got two different answers. And I asked for a manning document. In the military, a manning document is a system of requirements, and the number of people you meet need to have those requirements met. We now have a manning document.

In addition to that: Accountability. In this President’s term, we have we have relieved over 8,000 employees of their duty at VA. The standard is, if you don’t live up to your oath, if you don’t live up to the standards that our veterans expect, that you will be asked to leave. This is a transformational moment in our history. We have relieved people as high as network directors to people at the other end of our employee chain. After the scandals of Phoenix, the scandals of 2014 and 2015, this is, I think, one of the strongest statements that we can make: that it is a new day at VA.

And, finally, two other things about transformation:

On the opioid front, we have not been immune to the crisis that has impacted the United States.  But in the last year and a half, we have reduced the number of opioid prescriptions at VA by 51 percent. We have offered, for the first time, alternative therapies that, in my father’s day, would have been anathema to the ethos. We now tell soldiers: Come in and try acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, music therapy. We’re getting at the sources of the pain rather than treating the brain as we have with traditional opioid therapies.

And the last thing is suicide. A bit of a history lesson: The United States Army began taking statistics on suicide during the administration of Benjamin Harrison, who is only known for one thing: He was in-between two non-successive terms of Grover Cleveland. But Harrison, having been a general in the Civil War, recognized that there was a crisis in the frontier army. This is the first time that we have begun a national conversation about suicide prevention.

Fourteen — 60 percent — of those warriors who take their lives on a daily basis are not in VA. So we are calling for a national roadmap. I will have a report for you sometime in March, where we bring together Indian Health, HHS, HUD, DOD, and the rest of the federal government to actually begin a national conversation, long overdue, on mental health and addiction.

So I will conclude by saying that we have never had a President who has given this much attention and this much effort to those who have borne the battle. And it is my honor to be part of their team.

Published in Healthcare
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There are 18 comments.

  1. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    “Veterans Day” is kind of weak tea. I’ve sat in Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Day with the Royal Army Medical Corps, at the invitation of friends. Very solemn occasion since WWI destroyed the British Empire.

    We sat in front of the RAMC stained glass window.

    https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-commemorations/commemorations/royal-army-medical-corps-ramc

    I have told a friend, a retired RAMC colonel, that we both should have stayed out of the war. He was shocked but it was true.

    • #1
    • November 8, 2019, at 4:11 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Juliana Member

    I wish people who hate Trump would see this and understand what it means to veterans. But it will be buried with all the other good news that the Democrats/Media don’t want you to know about so they can continue their lies.

    • #2
    • November 8, 2019, at 4:14 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    “Veterans Day” is kind of weak tea. I’ve sat in Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Day with the Royal Army Medical Corps, at the invitation of friends. Very solemn occasion since WWI destroyed the British Empire.

    We sat in front of the RAMC stained glass window.

    https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-commemorations/commemorations/royal-army-medical-corps-ramc

    I have told a friend, a retired RAMC colonel, that we both should have stayed out of the war. He was shocked but it was true.

    That assumes that Germany under the Kaiser was less ambitious than Germany under the Führer. It was not. Lebensraum was an imperial German invention. 

    • #3
    • November 8, 2019, at 4:30 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. jerrykrause Lincoln

    @cliffordabrown Sec Wilkie really impressed me. Interesting on so many levels, 0f course the press just have to preen their asses.

     

     

     

     

     

    • #4
    • November 8, 2019, at 4:32 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    jerrykrause (View Comment):

    @cliffordabrown Sec Wilkie really impressed me. Interesting on so many levels, 0f course the press just have to preen their asses.

    Once he punched through the first few, who he had to know were primed to get their attack lines in, he started getting substantive questions from real reporters.

    • #5
    • November 8, 2019, at 4:38 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Boss Mongo Member

    Coupla/three thoughts:

    -Get rid of the VA hospitals, give the veterans a rectangular, pocket-sized piece of plastic that looks a lot like a credit card, and let the vet run it wherever he wants care.

    -If you’re a vet (or, a vet and retiree), and your plan for health care is to rely on the VA…That’s a bad plan.

    -I don’t know how to address the vet suicide percentages. During a recent exercise, I sat with a friend and brother-in-arms I’ve known since 1998, that was providing contract support to our exercise. The guy is a true gunslinger. Both on the ground and as a staff officer. He’s going through some dark times, and posed the rhetorical question, “How do you keep someone with no fear of death from suiciding when he has no fear of death.”

    It was something he was considering and, he had a point. If you know you’re going to die at some point (to many Americans, in this time, know death will come callin’, but it’s an intellectual, vice visceral, knowledge), and you have no fear of what lies beyond the Rainbow Bridge, why not seek sweet surcease from dark times by suck-starting your 9 mil?

    First, I told him he was an asshat for even thinking about bowing out on life. Then I told him whenever he started feeling like a dumbass suicide, to call me. Then I told him if he did suicide I would dig up his corpse and sodomize it every day until I crossed the river (Hey, he’s a good looking guy, not like it would be a burden…) and that whenever we met in Valhalla, he’d have no fun feasting because I’d make it my mission to ruin his evenings.

    I’ve added him to the roster of people I call every week or two.  Like Joe.

    But, I think the problem of vet suicides is intractable, and for reasons civilians can’t even get their heads around.

    • #6
    • November 8, 2019, at 4:39 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  7. Samuel Block Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    “Veterans Day” is kind of weak tea. I’ve sat in Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Day with the Royal Army Medical Corps, at the invitation of friends. Very solemn occasion since WWI destroyed the British Empire.

    We sat in front of the RAMC stained glass window.

    https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-commemorations/commemorations/royal-army-medical-corps-ramc

    I have told a friend, a retired RAMC colonel, that we both should have stayed out of the war. He was shocked but it was true.

    That assumes that Germany under the Kaiser was less ambitious than Germany under the Führer. It was not. Lebensraum was an imperial German invention.

    I agree. It’d have been great if the war could’ve been avoided, but once it was on, the US was needed.

     Here’s a short excerpt from Crown Prince Wilhelm’s book. 

    Further, Germany already established the practice of rounding up Belgians and French to ship them back to Germany to assist with the war effort. Apparently it was a real irritation to the Kaiser that he couldn’t just make a laborer into a skilled worker. 

    • #7
    • November 8, 2019, at 4:49 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. MarciN Member

    I wonder if this is the parade he usually pays for. One of the reasons I really admire and respect and am grateful to President Trump is that NYC cancelled either Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day services and parades due to lack of money and interest years ago, and without the presidency or any other honor or thanks in mind, Donald Trump, private citizen, funded it on his own. 

    • #8
    • November 8, 2019, at 5:14 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  9. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I wonder if this is the parade he usually pays for. One of the reasons I really admire and respect and am grateful to President Trump is that NYC cancelled either Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day services and parades due to lack of money and interest years ago, and without the presidency or any other honor or thanks in mind, Donald Trump, private citizen, funded it on his own.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/01/flashback-trump-saved-ny-veterans-day-parade/

    • #9
    • November 8, 2019, at 5:39 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  10. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    That assumes that Germany under the Kaiser was less ambitious than Germany under the Führer. It was not. Lebensraum was an imperial German invention. 

    Maybe. I’m reading “Germany’s Aims in the first world war.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Germanys-Aims-First-World-War/dp/0393097986/

    Maybe it will change my mind. I have been influenced by another book. “The Sleepwalkers.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Sleepwalkers-How-Europe-Went-1914-ebook/dp/B008B1BL4E/

    Also, Pat Buchanan’s book, “Unnecessary wars.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Hitler-Unnecessary-War-Britain-ebook/dp/B0011UGM3W/

    He blames Churchill and Grey, which I disagree with but I did buy a biography of Grey.

    All are worth reading. Of course, I have read “The World Crisis, v 1&2”

    • #10
    • November 8, 2019, at 6:12 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    That assumes that Germany under the Kaiser was less ambitious than Germany under the Führer. It was not. Lebensraum was an imperial German invention.

    Maybe. I’m reading “Germany’s Aims in the first world war.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Germanys-Aims-First-World-War/dp/0393097986/

    Maybe it will change my mind. I have been influenced by another book. “The Sleepwalkers.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Sleepwalkers-How-Europe-Went-1914-ebook/dp/B008B1BL4E/

    Also, Pat Buchanan’s book, “Unnecessary wars.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Hitler-Unnecessary-War-Britain-ebook/dp/B0011UGM3W/

    He blames Churchill and Grey, which I disagree with but I did buy a biography of Grey.

    All are worth reading. Of course, I have read “The World Crisis, v 1&2”

    Pat Buchanan, Jew hater, not worth reading. But that’s just me. When you go from cold warrior to saying America should have stayed out of WW2, the Judenhass explanation takes the fewest assumptions.

    • #11
    • November 8, 2019, at 6:59 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. Richard Finlay Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    “Veterans Day” is kind of weak tea. I’ve sat in Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Day with the Royal Army Medical Corps, at the invitation of friends. Very solemn occasion since WWI destroyed the British Empire.

    Veterans Day has become a celebration of Veterans, with free food at many restaurants and special events at schools and such. I don’t want to denigrate it, as I can remember 50 years earlier when such things would have been impossible to imagine. But it is not parallel to Remembrance Day. The closer comparison would be to Memorial Day, though even that has lost its moorings, somewhat.

    Our American Legion Post has held a Memorial Day parade for something like 30? 40? more? years. This community actually lines the streets and applauds the marchers. When I first marched in it, the parade was led by police cars and firetrucks, with sirens whooping and candy thrown to the kids. Today, due to efforts of our Post and a cooperative mayor, the parade is led by a color guard and the police and fire departments are subdued. Our message was pretty simple: This is a memorial; do not behave in a manner that would be inappropriate at a funeral/memorial service. There have been a couple of backslides (new mayor had to be brought on board) but 20+years after we raised the issue, it has held pretty well.

    The people still come out to line the streets.

    • #12
    • November 8, 2019, at 9:02 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  13. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    If President Trump attends, he will be the first US President booed by the people watching the parade. Says a lot more about them than it does about him, and I find this thoroughly disgusting.

    • #13
    • November 8, 2019, at 9:20 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    If President Trump attends, he will be the first US President booed by the people watching the parade. Says a lot more about them than it does about him, and I find this thoroughly disgusting.

    Well now, let’s wait and see who actually turns out and how they behave. 

    • #14
    • November 9, 2019, at 12:37 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Richard Finlay (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    “Veterans Day” is kind of weak tea. I’ve sat in Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Day with the Royal Army Medical Corps, at the invitation of friends. Very solemn occasion since WWI destroyed the British Empire.

    Veterans Day has become a celebration of Veterans, with free food at many restaurants and special events at schools and such. I don’t want to denigrate it, as I can remember 50 years earlier when such things would have been impossible to imagine. But it is not parallel to Remembrance Day. The closer comparison would be to Memorial Day, though even that has lost its moorings, somewhat.

    Our American Legion Post has held a Memorial Day parade for something like 30? 40? more? years. This community actually lines the streets and applauds the marchers. When I first marched in it, the parade was led by police cars and firetrucks, with sirens whooping and candy thrown to the kids. Today, due to efforts of our Post and a cooperative mayor, the parade is led by a color guard and the police and fire departments are subdued. Our message was pretty simple: This is a memorial; do not behave in a manner that would be inappropriate at a funeral/memorial service. There have been a couple of backslides (new mayor had to be brought on board) but 20+years after we raised the issue, it has held pretty well.

    The people still come out to line the streets.

    There are no Memorial Day parades in Arizona, to my knowledge. There are ceremonies at cemeteries, with rotating hosting by veterans’ organizations (VFW, American Legion, DVA), preceded by flag placement at each grave. Veterans Day became a thing again after Desert Storm, with Vietnam veterans finally getting the public respect they were long overdue.

    Veterans Day, in America, is definitely distinct from Remembrance Day because we had already long honored the horrific losses of the American Civil War. It took the similar horror, with similar democratic government accountability to the voting public, of World War I to drive a national day of remembrance in Britain. Between Desert Storm and 9/11, there were big parades for Veterans Day and lots of local Guard and Reserve unit participation. Then the deployment cycle got crazy. Then it slowed back down for most kinds of units and we see some more participation by local units.

     

    • #15
    • November 9, 2019, at 12:47 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Pat Buchanan, Jew hater, not worth reading

    I disagree with a lot but he has some interesting arguments. If you only read those who agree with you, you don’t learn much. I agree that the Germans behaved atrociously in Belgium. They had a sort of mass delusion that they were disrespected and some of the problems with Britain grew out of the Boer War. The British were very arrogant by the 1890s. The Germans sympathized with the Boers and tried to send aid. The British fleet stopped German ships, took them into port and confiscated the cargoes. The Boers humiliated the British who had not fought anyone but Indian irregulars since 1815. In my opinion, the Boers were right in that the gold found attracted British miners and the Jameson Raid was an attempt to overthrow the government of the Boers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jameson_Raid

    There is a pretty good argument that, but for the Boer War, the Germans would not have begun the High Seas Fleet. “Dreadnaught” is a pretty good source on the origins of the war.

    Had there been no WWI, there would have been no WWII and probably no Great Depression. Also no Soviet Union. Worth reading about.

    • #16
    • November 9, 2019, at 10:09 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Pat Buchanan, Jew hater, not worth reading

    I disagree with a lot but he has some interesting arguments. If you only read those who agree with you, you don’t learn much. I agree that the Germans behaved atrociously in Belgium. They had a sort of mass delusion that they were disrespected and some of the problems with Britain grew out of the Boer War. The British were very arrogant by the 1890s. The Germans sympathized with the Boers and tried to send aid. The British fleet stopped German ships, took them into port and confiscated the cargoes. The Boers humiliated the British who had not fought anyone but Indian irregulars since 1815. In my opinion, the Boers were right in that the gold found attracted British miners and the Jameson Raid was an attempt to overthrow the government of the Boers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jameson_Raid

    There is a pretty good argument that, but for the Boer War, the Germans would not have begun the High Seas Fleet. “Dreadnaught” is a pretty good source on the origins of the war.

    Had there been no WWI, there would have been no WWII and probably no Great Depression. Also no Soviet Union. Worth reading about.

    WWII did not necessarily follow from WWI, but for the Germans. The excuse of injured pride and harsh reparations cuts no ice when you recognize the Prussian core of the new Germany had imposed harsh conditions on France after the Franco-Prussian War and the French leadership took the path of regaining honor by paying off the imposed debt rapidly. Of course, the French were encouraged by the German occupation continuing until all five billion gold francs were delivered.

    There is no maybe about Imperial Germany being so full of itself as to believe the German people were deserving of vast new territory to the east, “lebensraum.” This was popular in elite university circles, not just beer halls. They were the rising power and expected to achieve great power status in the world.

    /BREAK/

    I’d like to get this back on track with the substance of the OP. I think that this branch topic is well worth an OP or so, perhaps working from some of the robust comments.

    • #17
    • November 9, 2019, at 3:17 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Gary McVey Contributor

    The part of NYC where I grew up had a big Memorial Day parade, and for about a decade the route went right past our house. We and our neighbors stood on the porch and saluted the marchers. Every year, my grandmother cried when the handful of remaining Doughboys walked by, some still wearing those flat helmets that looked so peculiar to the kids of 1961. As a nine year old, I had only a sketchy understanding that somewhere between a quarter and a third of the fine young lads of her Scottish town never came back. She was crying for those men. 

    And for decades to come, the women would suffer too, from lack of men to become spouses. This was especially true of Russian women after WWII; life was hard and there weren’t enough men. It’s a too seldom remembered aftermath of war. 

    • #18
    • November 10, 2019, at 1:23 PM PST
    • 5 likes