November 11 is the day we acknowledge and pay tribute to every veteran who has served or is serving in the military. There are approximately 22 million men and women in American who have served our country. The majority of them are currently over the age of 65 and are retirees.
Veterans are receiving recognition
A wave of patriotism is occurring that I find to be extremely encouraging. Stores are giving special discounts for veterans. Organizations are offering a variety of recognition. Businesses are hiring veterans. At professional sports events and games, veterans are being invited and honored. Hopefully, this trend will continue. We should honor those who protect our freedom and the freedom of so many people all over the world.
I also have been listening to some of our newly elected leadership who speak of reforming the U. S. Veteran’s Administration as one of the platforms for change in America. Several issues come to mind, but what has been happening in basic healthcare has been devastating to them and their family members.
It is a good start, but we need to keep going
Even though I deeply appreciate the considerations: the honors, services they have received, and some of the great work that is done in many states, so much more needs to be done to honor veterans in ways they most need it.
We know that what they need is to recover from the significant consequences of their time on tour. These consequences have impacted their physical, emotional and relational health. If these matters are not dealt with, we will continue to witness the serious outcomes such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, suicide, divorce, unemployment, disability, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse. These and other extremely difficult personal issues can be life dominating and have a ripple effect to the veterans who suffer from these consequences.
Our veterans deserve more and better
I admit that these problems can be extremely difficult to resolve. It will take significant financial and caregiver commitment. This commitment must be comprehensive; that is, empowered and focused to meet veterans where they are, to help them and their families live normal lives.
The physical and emotional wounds suffered from time spent in battle need to be addressed expediently and with the best of professional care and long-term support. Military parents, spouses and children need someone to talk to as well as a system of support for their needs.
On this Veteran’s Day, let us all resolve to provide our veterans with the best care possible.
They have served with their lives. If we are truly to honor them, we as family, friends, doctors, social workers, counselors, politicians or other professionals each should be inspired to provide them all that we can to help them transition from their military service to a fulfilling life. I can think of no better way to honor them on this Veteran’s Day.
To all Veterans, I thank you for your service and commitment to our safety. I deeply appreciate your many sacrifices and for inspiring us by risking your lives and using your abilities so that we can live in freedom.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network