Memorial Day: Veterans, Marriage and Obama Needs a Vacation

Veterans' holiday tainted by veterans' department scandal.

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Memorial Day weekend is upon us as millions of Americans remember the sacrifices of our veterans and enjoy the freedoms they fought for by driving to the beach for a three-day vacation. Supporters of same-sex marriage are celebrating new freedoms recognized this week and people in Washington, D.C., are especially ready for a long weekend. President Barack Obama must need some R & R as the Department of Veterans Affairs is facing heightened scrutiny for the slow veterans care that allegedly contributed to the death of at least 40 veterans.

Honor the
2.8 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans:  Veterans get a nationwide salute this Memorial Day weekend, but the inefficient bookkeeping at the VA means nobody knows how many total veterans there are. The best total estimate dates from September 2013, tallying 21.9 million living veterans of American wars. The veterans advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America serves 2.8 million veterans. Veterans from World War II, the Korean, Vietnam and Desert Storm Wars also make the VA a vast bureaucracy responsible for the well-being of tens of millions of people.

The percentage of veterans from the Gulf War era is expected to grow between now and 2040.
The percentage of veterans from the Gulf War era is expected to grow between now and 2040.

Obama approval at 50 percent, weakened by criticism: 
President Barack Obama added a new problem to his list when CNN reported that long waits for care from the VA may have contributed to the deaths of 40 veterans. Obama’s approval rating was at 50 percent as of Friday, according to Rasmussen. Obama has been touring the country in recent weeks raising money for Democrats and urging party members to show up and vote in the midterms, but maybe he will catch a vacation on Memorial Day weekend.

Vacation time for 36.1 million: 
This year’s Memorial Day weekend volume of travelers is projected to be the second highest since 2000 at 36.1 million, according to AAA. Nationwide gas prices are expected to be $3.67 this weekend for the approximately 88.1 percent who will be traveling by auto.

Same-sex marriage now legal in 18 states:
Numbers are looking good for LGBT rights. A U.S. District Court judge Monday struck down a same-sex marriage ban in Oregon, while a federal judge on Tuesday declared Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. A poll by Gallup also indicates 55 percent of Americans support laws that recognize same-sex marriage.