Veterans of the United States
The United States of America—the land of the free and the home of the brave—boasts one of, if not the largest military force in the world, with 1.4 million personnel employed to defend democracy and deployed to foreign nations overseas. Every individual is extensively trained in their skillset and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, yet they are not immune to the passage of time nor are they impervious to the stress of combat. To maintain its strength, the Department of Defense regularly rotates units, recalling those who have completed a tour of duty and bringing them back home. These returning men and women are our veterans.
Can veterans become assets to the community?
Society expects veterans to be paragons of discipline due to the drills they’ve endured and the harsh environments they’ve had to survive. Their military training gives them the ability to act on instinct at a moment’s notice. This makes them valuable during emergencies. If a mugging were to occur and a veteran noticed it, you can be sure that they’d come charging in. As a matter of fact, veteran presence in the neighborhood can scare away petty criminals.
In the economy, Corporate America has begun to see the worth of integrating veterans into the workforce. In 2015, Fox News reported that Walmart, the nation’s largest employer by far, with 2.2 million workers, has pledged to hire 250,000 veterans by 2020. Through its foundation, the retailer has committed $20 million in grants to organizations that provide veteran job training, education, and community-based collaboration, according to Kevin Gardner, a spokesman for Walmart.
“Hiring a veteran can be one of the best decisions a company can make. They’re quick learners, team players, leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service. They help us to build a better business,” Gardner said.
The trend for better treatment of our vets continues to prevail as proven in this recent video from Fox News: https://youtu.be/XP01gL0KOag
This national wave of support brings us to our next point.
Do we do enough for our veterans as a country?
Since the founding of the United States of America, our government has sought to compensate the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces. The laws that Congress pass are always intended for the good of our veterans.
The new G.I. Bill, for example, is a law that expands the educational benefits for military veterans. Its main provisions include full funding for a public four-year undergraduate education to vets who’ve served three years on active duty since September 11, 2001. If they’ve reached ten years of service, they can transfer this benefit to their spouse or their children. This assistance allows people who do not have access to a college education a chance to attain one.
Yet despite such laws, the solutions to some issues are proving elusive. One glaring problem is that vets comprise 20 percent of national suicides, with approximately 22 vets committing suicide every day. Half of them were diagnosed as having a mental health condition, usually PTSD. There have been programs set up to provide community support, but unless we learn how to prevent or at least be more effective in treating trauma, veterans will have to continue battling with their demons.
Having served our country for more than twenty years, I am concerned about this state of affairs. Let us band together in bringing hope back to our heroes. Share any ideas for the betterment of the lives of our veterans.
“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” —Jeff Miller
Singman, Brooke. 2015. “You’re hired: Jobless rate for veterans hits record low.” Fox News, December 08. Accessed January 9, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/12/08/youre-hired-jobless-rate-for-veterans-hits-record-low.html.
SAMHSA. 2016. “Critical Issues Facing Veterans and Military Families.” Accessed January 10, 2017. https://www.samhsa.gov/veterans-military-families/critical-issues.