Some pigs are more equal than others. Sound familiar? I’ve never read “Animal Farm,” but I’m guessing Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has. And he’d like to put that cliché into action.

Some pigs are more equal than others. Sound familiar? I’ve never read “Animal Farm,” but I’m guessing Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has. And he’d like to put that cliché into action.


Rick Maze reported in last week’s Army Times that Graham, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wants to provide commissary and exchanges privileges to disabled veterans with a disability rating of 50 percent or higher.


The privileges are normally reserved for men and women who have retired after 20 or more years of service.


Maze reports the efforts are purely economical – to make up for the loss of sales expected to affect commissaries and exchanges as the Department of Defense reduces the number of active duty and reserve troops over the next five years.


In her statement to the subcommittee on personnel of the Senate Armed Services Committee (available here), acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness JoAnn Rooney said that an average family of four that consistently shops at the commissary will save nearly $4,500 per year by taking advantage of the 32 percent savings on their overall purchases. Hardly chump change.


I’m all for providing benefits to disabled veterans – I’m one – but this proposal creates two tiers of disabled veterans. How do you look at two disabled veterans and decide one is less deserving?


As a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, Graham should know decisions made by leadership affects the morale of troops – or in this case, potential voters.


Memory lane


My initial link to the military came from my father, who served with the 82nd Airborne during World War II. Growing up in Leominster, it was not uncommon to see soldiers from Fort Devens. Like any child, I was fascinated with the “army men.”


At least once a year, usually on Armed Forces Day, pop would take the family to Fort Devens to see the trucks, tanks and weapons. I suspect it was really his chance to relive his days in the army (or perhaps a chance to get away from six kids, even if just for five minutes).


I will occasionally drive through what is now Devens on my way home. Driving past Rogers Field, which today hosts many a soccer tournament, I recall my days visiting the post, watching soldiers marching to the beat of a drum.


I visited the post often before it closed in the early 90s, by coincidence, taking advantage of commissary and exchange privileges. But it was – and is – more than that. It’s like those of us who recall our high school days with fondness.


If you have a chance, visit the Fort Devens Museum for its open house, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 19, and celebrate Armed Forces Day.


Bruce Coulter is a retired, disabled veteran and the editor of the Beacon-Villager in Massachusetts. He may be reached at 978-371-5775 or bcoulter@wickedlocal.com.