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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Southern Hospitality

The great wall of Walter Reed...will soon be breached by UMass Boston
The great wall of Walter Reed…will soon be breached by UMass Boston

Mice scatter as the cockroach festers, and the black mold stretches along the walls. Every place the eye turns looks upon decay and negligence surrounded by hundreds of wounded soldiers in wait of help. For the past five years, Walter Reed Army Medical Center has taken in thousands of wounded soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq, but only now are people finding out how unlivable those conditions have become there.

UMass Boston will soon witness firsthand the conditions at Walter Reed. The Student Veterans Center (SVC) is planning a trip to Washington D.C. and the Walter Reed Hospital for the weekend of April 26-29. The trip is being organized by Karland Barrett of the SVC, and will make 50 spots available for students wanting to go. The trip is open to everyone, not just those in the military, because, as Barrett said, it will be a positive eye-opening experience for UMass Boston students to meet veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the intent of the trip is not to investigate the status of Walter Reed, Barrett thinks that those who maintain the hospital ought to show as much care for their patients as their patients cared for their country. “It’s sad that now you have troops coming home who aren’t being taken care of to the same degree that they served their country,” said Barrett, a Marine veteran who was stationed off of the coast of Iraq between August 2003 and January 2004. “The things of our highest national importance should be education, the economy, and taking care of our veterans.”

The Student Veterans Center planned the trip before the poor state of Walter Reed became national news. It was not planned to witness the conditions, but rather was planned to boost the morale of the many veterans and patients currently residing at the hospital. “The plan is to see the physical condition of the vets down there,” Barrett said. “Also we will want to see the city’s war memorials.”

One thing being considered for the trip is a scheduled visit to the Capitol, where Barrett plans to petition to Congress to waive all fees for veterans attending public and state universities. Currently, state universities waive fees only for members of the National Guard, and veterans’ fees are only partially covered by the G.I. Bill, which also pays for the tuitions of all members of the armed services.

The trip will also to include greatly anticipated visits to the great memorials in the Washington, D.C. area. One memorial in particular is the World War II Veterans, which was opened to the public in 2004 to commemorate the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces. Barrett feels that a visit to this site is a good show of sympathy for the many people who sacrificed their lives to the longest war in U.S. history. “After all, it is our greatest generation,” Barrett said.