While, on Memorial Day, we recognize those that paid the ultimate price in service to their country, it's easy to forget those that return home with injuries both visible and unseen. Those heroes have a lifetime of challenges ahead of them and we, as a nation, don't do a great job of supporting them. Looking at out nation's homeless population alone, it's alarming the number of homeless that were once willing to lay down their lives for our freedom.
Will you sleep well tonight knowing that:
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
(from the National Coalition for the Homeless)
If you, like me, appreciate the sacrifices that these folks make on a daily basis, please consider supporting organizations that support them. More importantly, please ask your elected leadership to stop cutting funding of veteran's benefits and tell them to take more serious the debt that we owe vets.
Remember, not every wounded veteran is missing a limb, there are many more people with injuries much less visible and much more insidious.
A couple places to start:
PTSD Fpundation of America
Wounded Warrior Project