Saturday, May 23, 2009

Paralyzed veterans shouldn’t be forgotten

Paralyzed veterans shouldn’t be forgotten

Published: Saturday, May 23, 2009
Paralyzed veterans shouldn’t be forgotten
EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of Memorial Day on Monday, The Telegraph is turning over its editorial space today to Randy L. Pleva Sr., national president of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Founded in 1946, it is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of individuals with spinal cord injury or disease.

On Memorial Day, throughout the nation, the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice will be at the forefront of our thoughts. Sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and other fallen comrades will be honored.

We will remember them all, those who fought in the “war to end all wars,” World War II’s Greatest Generation, the heroes of the Vietnam, Korean and Gulf conflicts, and the latest great generation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They shed their blood for the freedoms we too often take for granted. And yet we all know that freedom isn’t free.

These heroes “shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,” as the poignant verse says.

BACKGROUND: Memorial Day is the day we honor the memories of those individuals who gave their lives fighting for their country.

CONCLUSION: But on this day let’s not forget the thousands of paralyzed veterans and their need for comprehensive health care.

And for those of us who served and live every day with our injuries, these selfless heroes will forever be a permanent source of inspiration.

We honor their precious memory by fighting for the freedoms they held so dear and gave their lives for – for the freedoms to ensure that America’s paralyzed veterans don’t just live free, but live free with dignity and empowerment.

A nation where veterans’ benefits and health care are fully funded. Our new commander in chief and Congress should be applauded for providing a historic health-care funding increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs and addressing the need for sufficient, timely and predictable funding for VA. This means that we veterans are more likely to get the quality care we’ve earned in a timely manner.

A country that’s barrier-free everywhere for everyone – we need universal wheelchair access in the land of the free and the home of thousands of brave paralyzed veterans and millions of people with disabilities.

An American scientific and medical community that’s fully funded to achieve new treatments and cures – the truth is that the dream of new therapies, and even walking again, for many is within our grasp. To achieve the breakthroughs, we need more investment, now.

In their memory, we are resolved to win this fight to help all veterans and their families. Since Paralyzed Veterans of America ( was founded 63 years ago after World War II, we have fought for and secured billions of dollars in earned VA benefits and health-care funding.

We led the charge for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, an important first step for us folks in wheelchairs. With our 34 chapters we have invested more than $100 million to find new treatments and a cure for paralysis. And we plan to do a lot more.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

We continue to fight in memory of that band of brothers and sisters whose sacrifice we can never repay.


This is the only veterans organization that I am a member of, they do excellent work on behalf of the veterans they represent. They do not demand high cost membership fee to be a member, but then these veterans have already paid a high price, physically........I am in a power chair due to heart failure which is Service connected I wish things were different but they are what they are....

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