A sense of solemnity amidst reflection at the nation’s resting place for fallen soldiers.
By Natalie Schreyer
Paul Farinella, 68, veteran of the National Guard and Army Reserve, wants to see more respect on Veterans Day.
Some soldiers returning from Vietnam were spit on, he said. To honor military service, there should be a greater turnout at national cemeteries on Veterans Day, he said. One way of increasing the public’s appreciation for military service is to reinstate the draft, he said.
However, he questioned whether the current generation of young people could tolerate a draft in the same way his generation did.
Farinella received an educational deferment during Vietnam in 1971 to get his master’s degree. He never saw combat, but he expressed sympathy for those who have. He said he could never judge the choices that soldiers face.
“War does strange things to strange people,” he said.
Farinella has been a high school science teacher for 36 years. He referred to his Army service as something he had to do.
“I felt that it was my obligation,” he said.
Today, Farinella said the Department of Veterans Affairs needs more funding to provide health care services such as psychiatric treatment. He said today’s veterans are receiving better care than those who served in wars like Vietnam, but more needs to be done.
Farinella suggested a system for veteran health where part of the funding currently going to Medicare would be extended to veterans. He acknowledged that bureaucracy is a problem at the VA and referred to the administrators as “bloated.”
“I still think they’re getting screwed,” he said.