On the corner of 16th Street and Hatcher Road in Phoenix stands a vacant lot. Back in October, as the nights began to get cold, a veterans support group approached the owner of the lot and asked he might allow a few tents to go up on the lot, to house homeless vets who were sleeping on park benches and in front of store fronts, unable as yet to secure space in a homeless shelter. The lot owner agreed.
So a handful of tents went up. A small community was formed. As in the old days, when these vets were part of something larger, when they stood shoulder to shoulder to fight for their country, they began to see a ray of hope from their present circumstances. And those vets began to work together; one group pulled KP, another group picked up trash, mostly fast food wrappers and paper cups thrown out the car windows of passing cars. They were actually keeping that lot cleaner than when it stood vacant.
Those vets were organizing and working together to make themselves a home. A little wire fence around part of the area holds Christmas stockings and American flags.
And that micro "tent city" provided a central gathering point so that veteran support organizations could come and work to get those vets some medical care and job training.
Sadly, this week, just a week before Christmas, the city bureaucrats have declared the lot owner is violating all kinds of zoning violations and has ordered the tents down and the vets back onto the streets. The tents, the flags, and yes, the Christmas stockings must come down tomorrow and those old vets will be left to fend for themselves smack dab in the middle of our greatest "season of giving".
How sad it is that not one bureaucrat cared when those vets were occupying a tent at Khe Sanh, the bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War when those vets fought an enemy force that outnumbered them 10 to 1. And not one of our government masters cared when those vets went house to house to liberate the city of Hue. And I'm pretty sure not one of those city bureaucrats had the courage required to stand and fight at the Battle of La Drang Valley. And it is pretty clear those bureaucrats can't comprehend the "collateral damage" that comes with war. If they did those grizzled old vets on the corner of 16th Street and Hatcher Road would have a home for Christmas.
Sad. Damned Sad.