Editorial: Veterans coming home

Posted 8/9/17

It’s often said freedom isn’t free. The right to speak out against those in power, move around on a whim, and generally live our lives the way we see fit is often taken for granted, as …

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Editorial: Veterans coming home


It’s often said freedom isn’t free. The right to speak out against those in power, move around on a whim, and generally live our lives the way we see fit is often taken for granted, as most Americans never feel the true cost of freedom.

But someone has to pay the bills, and America’s veterans bear the brunt of the cost. And it’s not just those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Many of those veterans who have fought and made it home are left with the scars of battle, the painful memories of comrades lost or enemy lives taken. They deserve respect and appreciation from those for whom they fought. They deserve to be treated properly for their wounds — physical and emotional. They deserve to be cared for in their later years, and live out their days in comfort.

They deserve the new RI Veterans Home that is nearing completion off Metacom Avenue.
The $120-million project being constructed in front of the exisiting home, is expected to be completed in October, with veterans moving in early November. The 265,000 square-foot facility is about double the size of the antiquated home built in the 1950s.

That space will allow each resident a private room, a welcome change for the residents who will no longer have to share cramped quarters with as many as two other people. The new home will give the nearly 200 veterans who live there their own bathrooms, a shared living room and library, and a central kitchen featuring all the modern conveniences. Each wing of the home will have its own backyard, and veterans can move about between “neighborhoods” as they see fit, instead of being stuck in a hospital wing, which their current quarters resemble.

The design of the new home is that of a classic New England village. The buildings are welcoming inside and out, resembling nothing of what one imagines a nursing home would look like. That was very much on purpose in the building’s design. It is not “the home.” It is, simply, home.

Rhode Islanders saw fit in 2012 to pay tribute to America’s veterans by approving a $60 million bond referendum to fund half the cost of the new home, with a federal match making up the difference. It may sound like a lot of money, but considering all our veterans have sacrificed, it is a small price to pay to let our fighting men and women know that when they come home, they will truly have a place to call home.

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.