The Jaxson

Community => Parks, Recreation, and the Environment => Topic started by: Ocklawaha on April 15, 2008, 07:21:50 PM

Title: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Ocklawaha on April 15, 2008, 07:21:50 PM
(http://static.flickr.com/161/417646136_70a19b006a.jpg)

Let's say you've done your time in hell... You served stuffing packing into blown-out guts of our young soldiers and airmen. Deep in a mid-Eastern desert, you crouched over the warmth of what remained of the kid you played cards with last night. Steam rises from his body, now open and exposed like a side of beef. Another shot of morphine for "Termite" the kid that survived. "Come on kid, you've got to hang on," you utter in prayer under your breath, while the clop, clop, clop of the helicopter grows louder. You wave in response to the request on your radio, repostion yourself, still crouching, when the feeling goes out from your own side. Your belt, shirt and pants are wet from a flood of urine, and blood. Your heart races, looking at the kid, you try and communicate one more time...it's no use, the world is growing dark.

Or?

Perhaps you show up for another day at the base, break out the new training tools, fill the containers with PK and set up hte benches for your morning talk to the young squids. Everyday for months you have hosed them down with your magic chemical... No fire could survive this you tell them as they gasp for air. This is the ultimate....... Suddenly your own throat seizes up. Sweat rolls down your brow. You think for a moment, "Oh God, I shouldn't have..... " The mind is gone, you breifly awaken, tubes in your body, the breath is hard to get. Worse still, that feeding tube. No food will stay down, no drink, nothing works, and you celebrate your 18Th birthday wondering if you'll ever walk again.

Fast forward 10 years, 20, or 30 years. Thank God you've recovered enough to walk around and joke with your friends. Enough to have finally had a series of jobs and a retirement check. Not a normal retirement, but that, that one gets by being unable to stand up to the rigors of the daily grind. Retirement that comes from not having the muscle to pass the physical, unable to walk, or unable to digest your dinner. Dinner? Oh yeah, that's a torture you've endured since Vietnam, Panama or Iraq.

Fish are good, broiled fish are healthy and fishing offers a little time to relax and get the demands of a busy world off your back. Though your on a fixed income, they say your a hero. A real AMERICAN hero. They have a national holiday to honor you and your friends that didn't make it home. The furniture stores all have a sale in your honor, and the town has a parade for those able to walk 3 miles in the heat and cold. These things are good, but it's fishing you seek. Just take the family or the wife out to the park and spend the day relaxing by the water. As the thought grows in your mind, you think maybe a cabin rental, maybe a little meal at the snack bar, maybe a canoe rental... MAYBE...?

Misfortune has delt you a bad deck of cards once again, for all of your honor, for all of your bravery and love of city, state and country, they plan to charge you full fare to enter their park. Accomodations are scant for those with special needs, and Jacksonville, Florida, that queen of the Florida Military is demanding FULL FARE for your admission to her parks. FULL FARE for that canoe rental, or cabin... FULL PRICE FOR EVERYTHING... After all, you are a citizen just like everyone else and they want you to pay to play. Sadly they missed that day back in 1969, or 2006, when you and your friends paid the ultimate price. Jacksonville and Florida need to sweep these old rules away and come into the new era of honor and respect for those who have given so much. Can't we give something back? After all, these men and women deserve an afternoon or evening in one of our heavenly parks, you see, the've already done their time in hell.

(http://ofp.umbr.net/Other/bestoftactical/mohpa_carrying_wounded.jpg)
 

Other States and even other Cities are way ahead of us on this, here is a sample...

NEW MEXICO:

Free State Park Day Use Passes for Disabled Veterans
Any veteran who is rated 50% or higher service-connected disabled by the VA and is a resident of New Mexico qualifies for an annual day pass and three free nights of camping. To apply, obtain the application from any DVS field office or download it here. Complete and send the application according to the instructions and attach a copy of your NM drivers license and a copy of the VA award letter showing a rating of 50% or higher

CALIFORNIA:
 
State Parks and Recreation Pass
The Benefits: A lifetime State of California Parks pass for only $3.50.

Who May Be Eligible: Any veteran with a service-connected disability rated at 50% or greater, or a former Prisoner of War.

(http://img.timeinc.net/Life/lifebooks/military/gallery/vietnam_wounded.jpg)
 

GEORGIA:

Reduced Fees for Disabled Veterans: Any service connected disabled veteran who was discharged under honorable conditions can visit/use state parks historical sites and recreational areas at reduced rates.
http://www.legis.state.ga.us/cgi-bin/gl_codes_detail.pl?code=12-3-9.1



TEXAS: 

Free Park Admission for Disabled Veterans
Free admission to Texas State Parks is available to any veteran who has a service-connected disability, which is rated 60% or more by VA, or a service-connected disability, which has resulted in the loss of a lower extremity. Application may be made at the headquarters office of any Texas State park by providing satisfactory evidence of service-connected disability. If such evidence is not readily available, it can be obtained from the VA regional office where the claims folder is located. The Texas State Parklands Passport is available to any veteran who meets the disability requirements, whether or not he or she resides in Texas. The Passport provides only free admission to the State parks, and does not exempt anyone from payment of other charges, such as camping fees, etc. We have provided a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for your convenience.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: 

State Park Admission
NH veterans with any VA service-connected disability rating shall not be charged a fee for day-use admission to NH state parks. Disabled veteran license plates issued by the state of NH, or a letter issued by the VA certifying the veteran suffers from a service-connected disability shall be considered proof of entitlement. Any fees for the use of enterprise activities (including ski lifts, food service, campgrounds, etc.) shall be charged.
Any active member of a federally-recognized unit of the NH national guard who is a legal resident of this state and is serving (or who retired) in pay grades E-1 through E-6 shall not be charged a fee for admission to the state park system. Any fees for the use of enterprise activities (including ski lifts, food service, campgrounds, etc.) shall be charged.

(http://static.flickr.com/1253/1457485295_8d5f5c82ff.jpg)

So how could it work here? Both the City of Jacksonville, the Beaches and the State of Florida need to revise their rules. The National Park Service already issues a "passport" for their parks to anyone who proves they are 100% disabled veterans. They simply require a form DD214 and the disability award letter issued by the VA. ANY NPS office, Ft. Caroline, Seashore, St. Augustine etc... can issue the passport. Rather then reinvent the wheel, why not use the NPS passport, and or the Florida State Disabled Veterans ID card as a pass for all of our parks? I would suggest that we follow the NPS lead and the veteran and his family (or carload) get into the park for free. We wave all entry fee's for 100% disabled veterans. Another approach is to wave the fees on veterans of 50% or more as some states do it. Almost all of them seem to include the families in the deal.
Secondly, the matter of discounts or vendors, most states/cities allow for a discount on camping, cabins, boats etc of a fair amount, while any concessions carry an understood 10% - 25% off retail. This would include things like canoe rentals, horseback riding or swim lessons.

One way for us to attract solid citizens, salt of the earth new residents, is to get in line with the rest of the country as she honors her war veterans. Locally, we should shine... God bless our veterans!


(http://static.flickr.com/2141/2046340439_818c519d44.jpg)
Care for our disabled veterans? How much are they worth to you? Look closely...


Ocklawaha
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: JeffreyS on April 15, 2008, 09:58:40 PM
God bless you for that and God bless our veterans.
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Ocklawaha on April 16, 2008, 09:15:59 AM
Interesting how little this moved our contributers to post something. We need to get this in front of the City and the State and see some changes. Is anyone out there listening? I know that Glorious Johnson wanted to take it up on the City level, but who should we get on the state level to carry this over the top? We need action here.  

Ocklawaha
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Jason on April 16, 2008, 09:43:38 AM
Where did you find the image of the Peso with "Japanese Government" written across the top?  Is that real?
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Ocklawaha on April 16, 2008, 10:20:42 AM
In my California cabin, I've got a box full of those bills, some of them are dollars! My father picked them up in the ruins of a bank near Tokyo.

(http://www.tomchao.com/as/malaya1f.jpg)
I figured others had them too, so I did an online search for Japanese occupation money... BINGO!
 

Ocklawaha
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Jason on April 16, 2008, 10:29:35 AM
So what's the story on them?  Did Japan make them in anticipation of conquering North America?
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Ocklawaha on April 16, 2008, 10:48:35 AM
Yes Jason. When they took Hong Kong for example they forced the citizens to give up any stocks, bonds, certificates, cash etc... The initial rate was one occupation "Hong Kong Dollar" for every TWO dollars worth of Yen. By 1944 that had changed to $4.00 of yen to every occupation dollar. The Japanese thus raided the tresury of every conquest and sold the cash and securities at a fantastic profit. Anyone who hid or harbored yen, or who refused to sell their money was used for sword practice. The population of Hong Kong was about 1.3 Million when the Japanese invaded, but only 600,000 when they withdrew... The bodies are everywhere. Japanese school boys were made fearsome by expressions like "You must become a friend of death, you will kill 1,000 Chinese (or Koreans) before you die..." So yes, they had big plans for the money, it was printed for all of the islands, China, Korea, Australia, India, and the good ol' USA

Ocklawaha
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Jason on April 16, 2008, 11:27:42 AM
Was Hiroshima and Nagasaki where those bills were produced?

I had never heard that before, thanks for the history lesson Ock.
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Ocklawaha on April 16, 2008, 01:03:23 PM
WARNING: This post and photos are graphic, DO NOT READ if you are easily offended.  

(http://www.dismalworld.com/im/violence/nanjing-massacre-whitewash-06.jpg)
250,000 victims were bound, raped, burned or used for bayonet practice in the Chinese City of Nanking.

Hiroshima, was a dirty industrial port where the river delta met the sea. It was so evil that the Imperial Japanese Navy, IJN,  avoided it at all costs. Populated by Army militarist, anyone (the IJN included) suspected of wanting an honorable end to the war was subject to arrest and torture or death in the City.

(http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/RM3.J.BAYONET.FACE.JPG)
A savage game developed, who could put the most holes in a prisoner without killing him, here a Japanese squad
takes great care to run up their score.

We should remember the whole war was based on a Weak ruler god, a strong Army militarist movement that lived in a largely uneducated fantasy world, and a highly educated Navy that understood war with the USA was not possible to win. Everything was subject to the powerful whims of the Army leadership, and anyone that crossed them was in grave danger. Yamamoto himself had a contract on his life and was "confined" to his ships for 2 years. The sadest part of the whole thing is that the leadership unlike Germany was rewarded for their crimes. Just the names speak volumes about our unequal postwar justice:

Admiral Toyota
Admiral Honda
Mitsubishi builder of the ZERO

etc...

(http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~clgaetan/openhear.jpg)
Here the female victim, one of 300, had her heart cut out after/during
a gang rape. Like tourists in hell, the Japanese soldiers posed with their prize.

The cruel torture club of unit 731, deep inside occupied Korea was run by the secret police. They collected POW's for biological experiments. Performed experimental surgery on live victims without drugs of any kind. Removed live organs, burned, injected poisons, germs and viruses at will. Inflicted horrible injurys with guns, knives and swords, then introduced infection to watch what happens as the victim dies... All of these notes were carefully collected and cataloged. When the war ended, we gave them their freedom, in exchange for the notebooks and the "how to do it" books collected from these beasts. Japan gave birth to modern biological warfare, and could be said to have started the US Biological warfare branch.

The money came from the central Imperial banks, and was distributed all over the East Asia sphere. Japan, in spite of being overlooked by so many WWII historians, conquered more miles of territory then any other empire in history. At their zenith they controlled between 1/4 and 1/3 of the surface of the earth. All we have to show for it today is the surviving dollars and pesos they printed. Otherwise the millions of Korean and Chinese families that live in poverty today due to being forced to buy worthless Japanese bills. The VETERANS that liberated those people from their slavery and torture, still cannot go into Hanna Park without paying the full gate price. Horrible.  


Ocklawaha
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Jason on April 16, 2008, 01:36:59 PM
If I were king, vetrans would have pensions and health benefits fitting of their service to our great country.  Hell, I'd throw in free admission for them and their accompanying families to any National, State, County, City park or museum.
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: stephenc on April 16, 2008, 03:35:41 PM
I know my dad is having a hell of a time getting his VA disability for that Agent Orange crap that used in Vietnam. I believe we got to go down to Gainesville now for some tests. Why don't we have a VA hospital here but Gainesville does?
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Joe on April 16, 2008, 05:08:46 PM
Just as a nitpicking matter of civics, parks are paid for at the local level. It doesn't make much sense to administer veterans benefits at the local level. Shouldn't that really be at the state or federal level?


Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Jason on April 16, 2008, 05:22:11 PM
Why can't the local level support the veterans?
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: RiversideGator on April 17, 2008, 12:36:02 AM
Good ideas, Ock.  Vets should get as many benefits as reasonably possible in my view.  They are the front line of freedom.
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Downtown Dweller on April 17, 2008, 07:01:23 AM
Let’s fix the disability benefits first, before getting free entry to parks. We have a friend recently back from Iraq who was injured so baldy in a roadside bomb that he was in the hospital for six months, had brain surgery, is now in physical therapy and will be for most his life and they are fighting giving him disability pay. I mean really???? It is a disgrace that we can’t take care of our soldiers, but can have all these other social services  >:(
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Driven1 on April 17, 2008, 10:47:29 AM
Let’s fix the disability benefits first, before getting free entry to parks. We have a friend recently back from Iraq who was injured so baldy in a roadside bomb that he was in the hospital for six months, had brain surgery, is now in physical therapy and will be for most his life and they are fighting giving him disability pay. I mean really???? It is a disgrace that we can’t take care of our soldiers, but can have all these other social services  >:(

i would agree with this DD...what you report is disgusting when you look at all the social suckers that we support...those that have never given anything TO the system, yet play their part in sucking it dry via programs and "checks".  hopefully your friend has already hired an attorney (this would be a pro bono case if ever i've heard of one).
Title: Re: Jacksonville and Florida's shameful Veterans system...(we CAN do better!)
Post by: Ocklawaha on April 17, 2008, 12:31:19 PM
As one of the veterans who's story I painted in the original post, Maybe I can shed some light on these ma tters:

FIRST MISTAKE: DO NOT TAKE ON THE GOVERNMENT YOURSELF... You will never get far by filling in all the little boxes, crossing "T's" and dotting "I's". The VA is a very specialized field and there are myrid agencys out there that will represent you and your case for free. They are professionals, in many cases this is ALL THEY DO, and they know how to score with the VA. To any new Veteran, CALL:

"Disabled American Veterans"
"American Legion"
"Amvets"
"Order of the Purple Heart"
"American Red Cross"
etc...

Ask to speak with their Veterans representative, if you have an appointment, bring every hospital record, doccument, date, name, time, your DD-214... EVERYTHING to the meeting and spill your guts out.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't understand the thinking that we have to fix disability BEFORE we give benefits! This is concurent, just as the disability is. We get the disability check from the Veterans Administration, the retirement check from the Military, the Auto Tags or tex ememption from the State, and the Park pass from the State and City. We certainly don't want to hold up the park pass, fishing licence or car tags because we see a problem with the hospital or the compensation at the federal level.

Someone asked if this isn't all a federal responsibility? The answer is NO. Every State has a STATE VETERANS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT, many have special benefits. For example in Oklahoma, I pay no taxes, no income taxes, no property taxes, no sales taxes, NONE. In Florida I pay no property taxes. In California I pay no property taxes and have an internal home loan program to assure every veteran has a roof over his/her head. New Mexico and Maryland give us special treatment at parks, and for taxes, while Maryland sends all of our children to any of the famous State Universities. Jacksonville has a complete department of Veterans Affairs on the main floor of City Hall, and the City will assist with personal problems... So will Columbus, Ohio, Oklahoma City, and 150 other places. The city might even help direct you to an agency to file your claim. What I'm complaining about is our City doesn't offer the benefits that are becoming common across the country. We are the Military leaders of Florida, and want to be a retirement mecca for solid citizens, something we won't get as long as GEORGIA offers more for her veterans then we do. Jacksonville is in a leadership position in this and sadly, no leadership is showing...


Ocklawaha