And so began the Armistice for the War to end all Wars…World War I, November 11, 1919. To most living Americans, this day is simply Veteran’s Day. Today, most banks will be closed, and you may not receive mail. We will remember the men and women who served in the military, engaged in fighting the wars this country’s government required them to fight. Read on.
Veteran’s Day. We will see “Saving Private Ryan” replayed on one of the cable channels. Well-deserved honor will be bestowed upon the few remaining veterans of WWII – the good war. We will remember those long since gone, whose names are listed on memorials in Washington DC and in countless county seats and state capitols across this country.
No less deserving of honor and respect are our most recent veterans – those who answered the call to serve in our military and have been placed in harm’s way in a war that was ill-conceived and which the majority of our citizens wish was over and, in fact, had never been started.
Yes, we’ll see stirring, flag-waving tributes on TV as the political leadership of this nation honors all our veterans.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, veterans make up 11% of our population, but they make up 26% of the homeless population. The Washington Post reported that, on any given night in 2006, more than 195,000 military veterans were homeless. The Veterans Administration says that 45% of homeless vets suffer from mental illness and PTSD. Homeless shelters report that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are already trickling into shelters. It took almost ten years for Vietnam veterans to start showing up among the homeless.
According to many sources, it’s likely that the trauma to Iraq and Afghanistan vets who’ve been pushed into extended tours of duty and multiple, intense deployments will be much worse than that from Vietnam. Foreclosures are rising and the economy is likely on a path to recession, making it even more likely that we’ll see a tremendous uptick in vets on our streets sooner than later.
As you remember veterans this week, consider contributing (or contribute more generously) to a foodshelf or to local homeless shelters. That’s one true way we can help support our troops.