Today is Veterans Day, which means it’s time for America to take a step back and remember what our men and women of our armed services have sacrificed in honor of the American ideal. Some have given years of their life, others have given their whole life. Regardless, what they’ve done is not easy, and for that they deserve our attention today.
That being said, today would be a disservice to our troops if we only focused on their bravery and strength and ignored some of the harsh realities they face every day. While it’s easy to think about the good stuff, the fact is that a lot of our soldiers who have faced battle are very vulnerable and in some serious trouble.
The Vietnam Veterans of America puts out a good fact-sheet running down the host of problems American vets struggle with. Among the worst:
1. Approximately 150,000 veterans are homeless.
2. The likelihood of a veteran committing suicide is three times the rate of the general public.
3. Of the veterans coming home from either Iraq or Afghanistan, about 300,000 will develop either post-traumatic stress disorder or severe depression, both of which can lead to suicide or difficulty obtaining work.
Besides all that, a Senate report just released this month says 1.4 million veterans are now living below the poverty line, with 1.4 million others living right above it. In total, about seven percent of veterans live in poverty today. Though many are luckier than the homeless ones, it’s still awful for someone who risked their life for America to come home to a country that can’t even provide them with a decent living.
Veterans who fought respectably for a cause in which they believed in is indeed an honorable thing. It’s almost criminal that they’re all not treated with the same respect and honor in return.
(Photo: Molly Riley/Reuters)