WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Paralyzed Veterans of America National President Al Kovach released the following statement regarding the announced ending to the war in Afghanistan:
“Paralyzed Veterans of America joins all Americans in recognizing the tremendous service and sacrifice of those who fought in Afghanistan, our country's longest war, which officially ended today, December 29, 2014.
What has not ended, however, is our country's obligation to bear the ongoing cost of war. Long after the guns fall silent, the battles will continue for the many who will endure the consequences of post-traumatic stress and prolonged deployments. For them, there will be no official end date to the conflicts.
More sobering is the fact that those service members who suffered catastrophic disabilities, such as spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, will relive the everyday battles associated with the desire to maximize independence and feel whole again in the face of profound physical and social challenges.
The founders of our organization understood this all too well after WWII ended. Back then, the country sought to move beyond a war that had also literally touched the homeland. Unfortunately, moving beyond meant shifting focus away from the needs of veterans with severe disabilities. But the paralyzed veterans of that time would not accept less than what they had earned based on the country's promise: full benefits, quality health care, equal rights, and opportunities to thrive. The same expectation holds true today.
Paralyzed Veterans of America will similarly ensure that moving beyond the nation's longest war does not mean society and government consider the debt to our service members fully paid simply because the U.S. and NATO have announced the war's symbolic end. These service members will place an unprecedented demand on the VA health care system. Reforms within VA must continue, as must our oversight to ensure that VA has the resources and staffing to provide these soon-to-be veterans timely access to the best health care available.
It is also important to remember the inherent hazards associated with military service, whether it involves fighting in Kandahar or training in the Arizona desert. The troops who will remain in Afghanistan in support of Operation Resolute Support will not be shielded from danger simply because a new flag is unfurled in Kabul.
Accordingly, Paralyzed Veterans of America will continue to champion our own 'resolute support' for the men and women who bravely served who will benefit from our myriad programs, services, and advocacy efforts and our unconditional desire to serve those who ensure our freedom.”
About Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For nearly 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (www.pva.org)