An article published in today’s St. Petersburg Times (my newspaper of choice here in Tampa) regarding a WWII veteran who needs to panhandle in order to survive struck a nerve with me this morning.
Anthony Jacondino, age 84, finds that he needs to stand on a street corner and beg for alms so he and his wife can survive. Now, here we are in the richest most powerful country in the history of mankind, in the year 2011, in the State of Florida, in a large metropolitan area; and this man, a man who went off to war at the age of 18 to defend the world from tyranny, has to beg to make ends meet? Something is seriously wrong for this to be happening.
According to the article, Jacondino has applied for hardship benefits from the Veterans Administration, but hasn’t heard anything back from them. His wife, who until recently was working and bringing home an income, has suffered a minor stroke which has left her unable to perform her previous job. This has put the two of them into serious financial straights.
Sure, we can argue here that Mr. Jacondino didn’t prepare too well for his retirement or that he made other bad choices in his life, but the bottom line is that this is a man who sacrificed a portion of his youth to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. He was there when his country needed him; but now that he needs help, where is his country? Again, something is seriously wrong here, folks.
A country that can’t be bothered to take care of its own is a shameful thing. And this isn’t just happening to veterans of wars over half a century ago. It’s happening to young men and women right this minute in this country. This is wrong, folks. Everything you have — and I do mean EVERYTHING — is the direct result of the men and women who have sacrificed to protect your rights, privileges, and freedoms for the past 200+ years.
Read the entire article at TampaBay.com – WWII Veteran Served, Now Begs on Tampa Streets.