• Last modified 5593 days ago (Feb. 21, 2009)
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     Veterans are dying at the rate of 1,000 every day, various sources tell us. The Veterans Administration is on a nation-wide program to establish more National Cemeteries to accommodate deceased veterans and their dependents. Scary? What's happening to cause this mass departure? Is there some national disaster happening we haven't identified yet?

     Not to worry. Settle down. There's no epidemic of veteran deaths. It's just another statistical demonstration of normal, natural history. For starters, the United States and world population growth continues as before, if not even a bit faster than predicted. And deaths, to confuse insurance actuaries who try to predict death ages and rates, are daily confronted with lifestyle and medical advances which have tended to lengthen the average American's lifespan.

     The death rate in the United States, then, is even a bit lower than predicted, but - and here's where the bugaboo is expelled - of all those who die on any given day, 1,000 happen to be veterans. It's that simple. We're actually living a little longer than what was expected but inevitably (like taxes) death catches up. That's the way it goes.

     World War I veterans are largely already departed, now it's us WWII era soldiers and sailors' turn. It's expected, it's logical, it's reasonable. Most of us have already taken steps to make our peace with the Almighty, or made beneficiary arrangements, or organized our life insurance estates. No big deal. And if you haven't, isn't it about time? Let's face it, the Korean action veterans are right behind us, with Vietnam not far behind, to substantiate and augment the statistics. That's how it goes. That's life, or actually, that's death.

     A thousand a day? Just to remember: in wartime, civilian casualties always exceed combat deaths; thereafter, the civilian rate continues without enemy assistance. Fact. How's your Veterans Administration Life Insurance status?

— Richard Tobias M.D.