Transcript: Vietnam War Veteran Ed Meagher’s remarks at the Democratic National Convention
Transcript of remarks by Ed Meagher, Vietnam War Veteran, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012:
Good evening. My name is Ed Meagher.
Can you imagine how it feels to return from war emotionally, psychologically and physically mangled, and the country you’ve been fighting for does not welcome you home? As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I know exactly how that feels.
Nine years ago I decided I would do what I can to give the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan a better welcome home than I had. Along with two of my fellow Vietnam vets, I work with some of our most seriously injured warriors and their families to prepare them for jobs, to help them find their way through the medical system and to lift their spirits.
Our alive days help amputees to realize that even though they’ve lost limbs, they have their lives. Operation Jumpstart helps them strategically think about the next phase of their lives.
We’ve helped punch up resumes to reflect skills they possess but they didn’t know were marketable. We’ve coached them and provided fresh business outfits and computers to help them with job searches.
Supporting our efforts is President Obama’s actions increasing the VA budget to $140 billion in 2013, fully funding the new GI bill allowing over 800,000 veterans and their families to pursue an education and begin their post-military service to our country.
The Obama administration has hired more than 3,500 mental health professionals, and will hire 1,600 more over the next year, to help veterans to cope with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries and to strengthen suicide prevention efforts.
Last Memorial Day, President Obama declared the treatment of Vietnam War veterans a national shame and spoke two sweet words my generation of returning veterans yearned to hear: “Welcome home!”