Your Majesty, Visit the Wounded at Walter Reed

A state visit, especially by a reigning British monarch, is always meticulously planned far in advance. The royal itinerary reflects the character of the visit as well as the character of the visitors. Given the occasion, a trip to Jamestown was natural. The queen's interest in horses is well known. The visit to the World War II memorial is likely to be particularly poignant, with the queen scheduled to greet GI war brides. All this is appropriate. While meeting GI war brides from six decades ago is powerful and touching, especially considering the queen's own World War II experience, it is worth remembering that America is again involved in another bloody fight far from its shores. New GI brides are being minted on a regular basis. Some of our men and women in uniform are not returning home. As a result, allow me to suggest a minor deviation from the official itinerary: The queen should go to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

American forces are fighting half a world away, standing shoulder to shoulder with Her Majesty's own British forces. The viability of success in this war, and its timely prosecution, dominate political discourse here in the U.S. The scandals concerning care for returning Iraq war veterans rocked the Defense Department earlier this spring. After a few cycles of intense media scutiny, America's wounded Iraq war veterans again faded from public consciousness. In a war where many of these military members were told they fought without allies, a visit from the queen would be a powerful reminder of the bonds between the United Kingdom and the United States. The American people would be moved and touched by a royal visit to our injured sons and daughters in uniform. Some may argue that the itinerary is set, no deviation is permitted, and a visit to Walter Reed would unnecessarily endanger other visits on the schedule. I understand that. The individuals at the other stops, however, will understand and sympathize. Certainly the GI brides will. Given half a chance, they are likely to take the queen there themselves.