My Dad’s faith in the Veteran’s Administration was strong.

Not so surprising since dad was a World War II veteran, part of the so-called Greatest Generation. Even though he had to weather the rampant racism common during his time in the army, he felt great pride in his service. And he felt secure in the benefits afforded him as a vet—he used G.I. subsidies to go to college--the first in his family--and he made a down payment on a house using the same benefits. But, mostly he was confident that his health care would not be a burden for me and my sister.

Daddy always told us, “If I get down, just take me to the Veterans Hospital. They’ll take care of me.”

His words came back to me the last few weeks as I’ve watched the scandal unfold at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. It started at the veteran’s hospital in Phoenix where whistle blowers claimed 40 veterans died waiting months on end for treatment. The hospital covered up the delays by maintaining a secret wait list. The V.A.’s Inspector General has not yet linked the Phoenix deaths to the long delays. But, by not getting timely treatment ,most of the thousand or more waiting vets with heart or brain conditions have their lives put at risk.

This latest round of scandal at V.A. hospitals is just that, the latest round. Seven years ago, The Washington Post uncovered the horrors of both treatment facilities and care at the now defunct Walter Reed Hospital. 

The long delays and secret wait lists alleged at Phoenix Hospital are currently under investigation in as many as 26 other V.A. hospitals. General Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, is under fire, with some calling for his resignation. President Barack Obama ordered Shinseki to the White House last week, demanded a nationwide investigation and told reporters, “I will not stand for it. Not as commander-in-chief, but also not as an American.”

My father used his last GI benefit in 2006 when he was buried in Memphis’ new veterans' cemetery. The cemetery shouldn’t be the only place where veterans can be assured of a swift response.

That’s why, for today, I’m proposing a radically different Memorial Day commemoration—

Let’s remember our veterans’ sick,

Let’s remember them homeless,

Let’s remember them unemployed,

Let’s remember them suicidal,

Let’s remember them in all the ways that make us uncomfortable, so we can’t ignore their plight until the next scandal.

And then, let’s stop the flag waving in Washington, and put policies in place to serve those who honorably served us. 

Callie Crossley is the host of Under the Radar.