“A report released last week in Washington, D.C. revealed that 1-in-4 homeless people in the United States is a veteran. This information is shocking, especially in light of Veterans Day, which was this past Sunday. Veterans make up about 11 percent of the general adult population.””
A report released last week in Washington, D.C. revealed that 1-in-4 homeless people in the United States is a veteran.
This information is shocking, especially in light of Veterans Day, which was this past Sunday.
Veterans make up about 11 percent of the general adult population. So there’s something radically wrong with the fact that 25 percent of the nation’s homeless are veterans.
Veterans Day is a holiday of remembrance and respect for the people who have served our country in the armed forces, but do we respect and honor them the rest of the year?
We’ve all seen the commercials. Be all you can be. Our armed forces offers its volunteers success and opportunity.
Ask a homeless veteran about how the opportunity and success promised by the armed forces ended up for them. You can blame their status as homeless on their life choices or poor decisions, but the truth is that the system has failed. The government, who employed them in wartime, has failed them.
Do we only respect and honor our soldiers when they’re valuable, when we need them to fight our wars? Is Veterans Day an empty holiday? It’s entirely believable that it feels that way to the veteran living on the streets.
It’s not just elderly veterans who are homeless, either. From the current wars, the Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans.
Failing mental health is a large reason for the number of homeless veterans, and the effect of the Iraq War on mental health has been enormous. Repeated tours of duty have a devastating effect, and veterans who return to the States often end up in shelters.
So what does this say about the way that America wages war? It’s not only a war on the people of Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s regime or even al-Qaida. It’s a war on our own soldiers, who instead of finding opportunity and success often find mental problems and a shelter to sleep in. They’re victims of the war waging in our own country, and we often forget about them.
On Monday, we showed respect to our veterans and honored them. But other than taking a day off, can we show them respect and honor in real, meaningful ways? It doesn’t seem fair that a draft-dodger sits in the White House while people who have put their lives on the line for our country sit in the street.
After every war, some soldiers end up homeless. They may not have been paid enough to adjust to civilian life, where infantry training isn’t necessary, or they may be suffering from mental illness. Post-traumatic stress disorder is frighteningly common, especially among homeless veterans.
The war in Iraq is a war on our soldiers – even the ones who make it home. The fact that one-fourth of homeless Americans are veterans cannot be argued with, and it brings new meaning to the phrase be all you can be.
It seems that the government wants our soldiers to be all they can be while they’re fighting for us, but after that, unfortunately, they are tossed aside.
If you want to argue that the government views the soldier as expendable, you’ve now got evidence to back it up.