As a military town, San Diego is being hit particularly hard by the ongoing government shut down. Veterans who have been awaiting disability benefits for months may now be forced to wait longer while no one works on approving their claims. The VA has ceased mandatory overtime and, although it expects to continue issuing checks and processing claims, it will not be able to do so beyond October. New claims for veterans benefits, including the VA Aid & Attendance Non-Service Connected Disability Pension may also be forced to await the return of “normal” government functioning. The problem of awaiting benefits is more troublesome due to the fact that Aid & Attendance benefits are used to care for veterans who cannot take care of their own daily needs. Additionally, the ongoing backlog of service-connected disability claims prevents many wounded veterans from returning to civilian life, managing their daily affairs, and paying their bills.
Additionally, many individuals are left to wait and see when they may return to work (and a paycheck) as a result of the shutdown and national morale is sinking. The understandable frustration people feel with government is growing as the minutes of this shutdown tick by. However, there have always been a few pastimes that remind the citizens of the greatness of this nation. In San Diego, one such pastime is the MCAS Miramar Airshow, an annual display of aeronautical superiority and military might. To add insult to injury, the show has been cancelled. Typically, it dazzles its attendees with tours of various military aircraft and the perennial highlight: the Blue Angels skyway acrobatics.
This year, sequestration already resulted in the Blue Angels being sidelined in favor of “fiscal responsibility.” The last budget and debt ceiling debate resulted in various across the board cuts, including a large chunk of the Pentagon’s budget. Such patriotism boosters as the Blue Angels could no longer be afforded. No matter. The Marines did what Marines do: They adapted, adjusted, and persevered. The show would look different than in years past, but it would go on, as they say.
This weekend, the show was slated to include some civilian pilots to make up for the lack of military pilots. Additionally, the airshow was going to include some new attractions to delight the crowds: drag racing, concerts, and fun runs along the flight line. Unfortunately, for those who were planning to attend the airshow this weekend, it is time to make other plans. As a result of the government shutdown, the entire show is now cancelled. It is time to make other plans for this weekend.
The MCAS Miramar Airshow is among the most renowned and heavily attended airshows in the country. Further, it serves as an effective method of outreach and interaction between civilians and military personnel. At a time when veterans are feeling a lack of appreciation and are suffering through budget perils negatively impacting their daily lives, the airshow serves as a reprieve and an opportunity to revel in the gratitude of a nation. I hope you will forgive my editorializing regarding this affront to the American people as a result of outrageous Congressional conduct.
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