The idea of calling a returning soldier a “baby killer” or spitting on them as they return to the “World” seems incomprehensible today. But just 40, 45 short years ago it was a gross, stark reality at tarmacs all over a divided America. That speaks well of us as a nation but we can certainly do better. Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) should be given a hearty pat on the back for his tireless work for veterans and life in VA Hospitals has improved over the last decade but they’re woefully shy of where the bar should be for such a rich country. As Marines all over the world wake up a little weary after celebrating the Corps’ 240 Birthday, we now focus on veterans of all branches of service. The single proudest moment of my entire career came the day WE, me, a host of you, and a few of our local legislators (Supervisor Leticia Perez, McCarthy and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove) raised in less than three hours more than $17,000 for Honor Flight, Lili Marsh’s band of veterans who travel back to Washington D.C.to bask in the glow of a grateful nation and the magnificent monuments constructed in their honor. For a rare time in my long career I truly felt as if I made a difference in the lives of men and women who helped save Democracy. That generation, often called “The Greatest” is in the autumn of their years and it’s vital that we love and cherish them NOW! Even restaurants have joined in on the military victory lap. Eateries all over America offering free meals to all vets. However, business is business. Most ads read something like this: “All you can eat for all veterans … drinks and gratuity not included.” You saved us from Hitler but damn, you can’t drink up all the Coco-Cola! We sometimes get it wrong. We sometimes don’t live up to our haughty political promises and we too often worship the might buck. But on this day I still say, God bless America, God bless our veterans, Semper Fidelis, Marines and we all still reside in the greatest country on the planet!