On Nov. 11, 2013, I purchased two appliances from Lowe's store in the Eastwood Mall complex. I showed my military discharge icon on my Ohio State driver's license. I received the 10 percent discount awarded to veterans from the U.S. armed forces that Lowe's gives as well as many other stores and restaurants.
When I was finished with my purchase, the person who checked me out told me that the icon showing military service, posted on my official Ohio State driver's license will no longer be accepted the following week and from then on.
I was told that only the driver's license-sized card with a picture identification issued by the Veterans Administration will be accepted for the discount of 10 percent. I was told that if I wanted to get the discount in the future I must go to the VA and get their ID card.
I served four years in the U.S. Air Force from 1957 to 1961. It was the Cold War time. I was never shot at, I never faced bloody adversity, I never saw any rough military action being faced by an opposing force out to kill me, or I them. I cannot feel that I can go to the VA for benefits that others deserve more than I.
When I see the wounded warriors on TV and in parades and waiting in line to get the help they deserve, I cannot, in clear conscience, get in line for medical or mental help that I do not need due to being in a war. I have been sick and have had many surgeries and sought help many times since my discharge in 1961. But, I never had the problems due to my military service.
I know that there are many vets who have not been as fortunate as I with insurance coverage and retirement. Therefore, I cannot feel it right for me to take a spot in line for benefits that someone really needs due to their service or otherwise.
Now that Congress feels that the reduction of government spending lies on the backs of military spending, both for active duty and the retired, I truly feel better that my costs are from my own insurance coverage rather than what a truly deserving active duty or retired veteran is due.
I did enjoy the discounts from Lowe's and other stores and restaurants that gave them. If my official state of Ohio driver's license is not proof to them, then I will find other businesses that will accept this ID.
I had to prove to the state of Ohio that I was a true veteran by bringing in my certified DD Form 214, the USA military form showing my discharge and other notices therein.
I will say to those both on active duty and discharged: Thank you for your service, and I thank God that my service was in peace time.
-- Patrick M. Liste, Girard