Veterans Day — Veterans Day is observed officially on November 11th, no matter which day of the week it actually falls on. There are numerous ceremonies held throughout the country every year. There are also various parades to remember the brave men and women who fought so Americans can enjoy the freedoms we are so fortunate to have. While all the celebration may seem good for that special day once each year, there is a very quiet, tragic reality lurking in the background.
There are many veterans doing remarkably well, but there are also many of our veteran heroes suffering in quiet desperation and loneliness. This is often because they have been forgotten or pushed aside. Friends and sometimes even their families have abandoned them because the experiences they endured changed them forever. They have had an extremely difficult time fitting back into their pre-service lives.
Some of them have adjustment issues and mental problems that can not be explained away or fixed. Some have not been able to adjust back into society and get on with their lives after all the things they’ve seen and lived through during their time of service.
Some of them never receive any of the benefits and opportunities they were promised when they first joined the military or were drafted. There are many veterans who have to fight just to get proper healthcare, food, and shelter. It should not be this way. They should have access to proper treatment and care every day, not just on Veterans Day when the entire country is watching.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states that the number of current homeless Vietnam veterans is greater than the 58,000 military men and women who died during the entire Vietnam War. Think about that for just a second, there are more homeless Vietnam era veterans right now than all the soldiers who died during the entire Vietnam War. This is an absolute travesty and should not be allowed to happen in a country as great as America.
None of our veterans should be homeless no matter when they served. Regardless of whatever political views you may hold regarding such wars, people who were brave enough to serve during these conflicts deserve honor and respect; they do not deserve to be put on the back burner and left to suffer in quiet desperation.
Below are homeless statistics according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
Veteran Specific Highlights:
23% of homeless population are veterans
33% of male homeless population are veterans
47% Vietnam Era
67% served three or more years
33% stationed in war zone
25% have used VA Homeless Services
85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
89% received Honorable Discharge
79% reside in central cities
16% reside in suburban areas
5% reside in rural areas
76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
46% white males compared to 34% non-veterans
46% age 45 or older compared to 20% non-veterans
45% help finding job
37% finding housing
Veterans Day is a wonderful occasion because it allows many of our heroes to feel appreciated if only for this one day. Even homeless veterans can feel appreciated on this special day each year. It would be much better though, if they could be given the proper attention and treatment they need all year long.
This would give them a better chance to function at a higher level and integrate back into the society they gave their blood, sweat, and tears to protect. Their service allows us to live safely in the most wonderful country in the world.
The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine, and they noted to me that their local library would be closed on Veterans Day. She told me that she knows everyone that works in the library, and only one person is a veteran.
That’s interesting isn’t it? So why is the library closed? All the people there are not veterans, they are merely the beneficiaries of the blood, sweat, and tears which our veterans have provided us in this great civilization of ours. Then, she asked me a very interesting question;
Why does everyone get to have a day off on Veterans Day?
She then mentioned that she didn’t believe it wasn’t fair that everyone got the day off on Veterans Day. Indeed, I told here; “I like your idea about that holiday only being for veterans, and no one else gets the day off. That actually makes a lot of sense to me.”
You see, the other day I was at an air show, and the air show host noted that Veterans Day was coming up soon the following weekend. He said to the crowd; “please stand up if you are a veteran or an active-duty member of the military of any branch.” It was amazing the number of people who stood up, and everyone gave them a round of applause which they surely deserve. Amongst the ground displays were World War II aircraft, Korean War aircraft,
Vietnam vintage aircraft, and even modern-day fighter planes, they types used in Iraq or Afghanistan.
It was great to see them honored and recognized amongst the crowd in this way. Next, the announcer said; “if you have a family member who is a veteran or in the active-duty in any branch of the military please stand up.”
I was amazed, there were so very few people still sitting down. We have a great country, a great country indeed. Still, isn’t Veterans Day their day, and if it is, how come everyone gets the day off, even those people who protested wars, or voted for candidates who are against our military and armed forces?
For a good many people, I suppose they will take Veterans Day off, have a barbecue, and not even stop for 5 minutes to reflect all of those great Americans who have risked their lives, or even died in the cause to preserve our country, or to protect the free world on our behalf. If you are going to take Veterans Day off, then maybe you should spend the day thanking everyone you know who is a veteran, inviting them over to your barbecue – they damn well deserve it. Please consider all this and think on it.
There are twenty four military cemeteries on foreign soils that are resting places for our precious blood. Of course, not included are the unmarked graves of those buried where they fell, along with many more lost at sea, and those who rest in our homeland. Add to that sacrifice; fellow Americans who returned home, many injured beyond compare, only to assume the role of law abiding citizens. Upon their return they continued to contribute to society.
America has a long history of fighting battles to free humankind, and to protect all that we Americans hold dear. The emotional cost to our Nation has been heartbreaking, the grief to generations of families, unimaginable, and yet the Military Might of America is forever ready.
How do we repay them and how do we honor their memories, and contributions to us the American people? Is it sufficient to establish a couple of days a year, and then go back to doing what pleases us? How insignificant to give so little time to the fallen. We need to ask ourselves why they served, and for many why they were willing to sacrifice their lives. I feel confident that if asked, the answer would be, “We gave in order to defend the Constitution, the American way of life and Liberty.”
And so it is with all our Heroes, so many missed potentials, and “what ifs”… What we do know is that their selfless actions reflect only the best. Individually and collectively the loss of these patriots is ours. To the generations that have already given, to those who even today continue to give and put their lives on the line, make no mistake, present and future generations will never be able to repay you. You are missed, you are to be treasured, and honored not just one day of the year but every day.
The finest way to honor the fallen is to uphold America as intended by the Founding Fathers, when they wrote the Constitution. As patriots, let your voices be heard, in the halls of Congress, let your voices be heard in the schools, let your voices be heard amongst your neighbors, let your voices be heard in cities, towns, and municipalities, all over this great nation. The way to accomplish that is to let your voices be heard by your vote, support your vote with knowledge. Then and only then can we say to those who served and those who sacrificed.
“Rest easy, sleep well my brothers and the line has held, your job is easy, sleep well….Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held….Peace, peace, and farewell…”
By Poet: Hugh Wyles.
Veteran’s Day began as a celebration of World War I veterans, and it has since become a day to remember and pay respect to all those who serve in our military. Countless lives have been sacrificed by military personnel to preserve our freedom. Many leave their families to travel to foreign nations not knowing if they will return to see them again. This day honors them and all they do. There have been lots of great films made to portray the life of a soldier, and watching these films is a great way to celebrate the day.
Saving Private Ryan
This movie shows the impact of war on the family left behind. When a mother is set to receive the heartbreaking news of three of her sons’ deaths on the same day, a mission is born: Bring her last son back home. All but one brother was killed in action in World War II, and a company of soldiers is sent to bring the last brother home.
The Civil War was more than battles on fields. The first all black company was recruited to fight for the Union, and emotions heightened when they were not allowed to perform on the battlefield. They were used for manual labor, denied the same supplies as white soldiers and paid less than white soldiers. Despite these inequalities, the soldiers fought for the freedom of all.
Black Hawk Down
An invasion of Somalia to take out some top warlords was executed by Army Rangers in this blockbuster film starring Josh Hartnett. When the Black Hawk helicopters who brought the men in the city are taken down in the attack, acts of heroism are demonstrated by the Rangers in their efforts to save the soldiers on board the choppers.
Mel Gibson demonstrates how a man’s family is not to be messed with, even in the name of war. The American Revolution was fought to bring the birth of a new nation to the attention of the world. When a man known for his courage, bravery and even savagery in the French and Indian War seems to have become a passivist, his son goes off to join the war. Events unfold and a British officer murders the man’s younger son. This causes the man to unleash the savage inside him once again, and he takes his revenge to the battlefield.
Before America tossed it’s hand into the fight of World War I, young men wanted to find a way to help the cause. This film shows a group of young Americans going to France to become a heroic group of fighter pilots. The Lafayette Escadrille was a group of volunteers, mostly Americans, that took the fight to the air.