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Honor: Honor can be defined as showing respect for an individual and recognizing them to a certain degree above the societal norm. Giving higher honor to an individual comes about from what our society dictates and regulates. The more honor you possess, the more value you hold within society. Individuals begin to look toward honorable people with the end goal in mind of gaining some sort of valuable utility that, in turn, will allow themselves to increase their own reputation and honorable status. Is honor rewarded externally or internally? In other words, does it suffice for someone to simply believe they carry honor throughout their life, or does it need to be validated by the outside world? When you respect another individual, does that automatically reciprocate into honor? What is the right of passage in gaining honor? Is it achieved through actions, words, or both? More so, is honor automatically attributed to an individual or does it need to be earned within the various rights of passage? Where do you draw the line in assigning honor? Can it be to your neighbor down the street, or is it simply predicated by a title in which our society holds to a higher regard? How do you deal with honor? Do you differentiate between honoring pacts and contracts or honoring promises and handshakes?

On this Holiday weekend, dads all over the nation will be honored by their families for all that they do. Although some will receive the much-maligned neck tie or coffee mug that has #1 DAD printed on it, many dads out there will feel extremely honored when their children simply tell them happy Father’s day. However, simply acknowledging someone’s efforts and accomplishments does not always suit the situation or honor the individual appropriately. Honoring our military veterans for their service needs to be more than mere lip service by politicians hoping for re-election. These men and women, many with families, chose to put their lives in jeopardy for the causes of our nation and performed honorably. Yet, many have not been treated with the honor they deserve. Since the creation of the Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals in 1930, there have been dozens of major problems, protests, and government inquiries aimed at determining who to blame. Likewise, the recent discovery that some VA hospitals have been placing a number of patients on hidden appointment lists to make it look like the VA was serving veterans in a timely fashion has fueled more outrage and government finger pointing. Presumably, it is looking as though the bonus system for VA officials, one that rewards them with thousands of dollars for providing timely care to all veterans, is at the heart of the problem. The VA has suspended all bonuses for the rest of the year. According to CNN, “tens of thousands of newly returning veterans wait at least 90 days for medical care, while even more who signed up in the VA system over the past 10 years never got an immediate appointment they requested.” The internal Veterans Affairs audit also suggested that 120,000 veterans are still waiting to receive medical care. Add to this “the VA acknowledging 23 deaths nationwide due to delayed care,” and the seriousness of the situation is magnified. But wait, there’s more. It has also been discovered that the upper-management of some VA hospitals have dishonored themselves and the VA by threatening employees and doctors with prosecution or other forms of reprisal for whistle blowing. CNN reported that “VA officials had posted warnings in the hospital’s halls and elevators that no VA employees could speak with the media or divulge details of what went on inside the hospital” unless they wanted to suffer “financial reparations and even jail time.” Thankfully, Congress is working on a bill that will pay for veterans seeking medical help elsewhere, but the secret patient lists, employee intimidation, and the deaths of at least 23 veterans is shamefully damaging to our nation. Honoring our military veterans by providing them timely access to medical care is no more than what was promised to them by our government prior to their enlistment. These veterans honorably fulfilled their duty to their nation. Now, let us see if our nation can do the honorable thing by ensuring no more veterans suffer or die because of the VA hospital system.

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