You want to thank me on Veterans Day?
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After returning from war, I was privileged to do a lot of research. That research was heavily related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). I learned a lot. Unfortunately, what I learned wasn’t refreshing at all. But this isn’t about PTSD.
It’s about individual actions. During my time researching the effects of war, I learned about the Veteran homeless dilemma. I also learned about the spike in numbers for children of veterans needing outpatient psychological counseling. I also learned about the overwhelming amount of substance abuse within the veteran population. And worse, I learned about the increase in suicides amongst our veterans.
“Happy Veterans Day” makes little sense to me. What is so happy about Veterans Day? Did you read the aforementioned? None of those things should make a person feel happy.
At one point in time, the Veteran felt like he/she was truly living. They embraced their brothers-in-arms and fought the enemy. The adrenaline rush was overwhelming. And for many who returned unscathed, they should be grateful. For some, Veterans Day should be a happy day. But for me, it is not.
For me, Veterans Day sucks. In fact, I hate it. I lost friends overseas and I will never get them back. And like most veterans I know who served in war, they also lost a little part of themselves. Veterans Day reminds me of those times when I faced some serious mental anguish.
With all that aside, I personally believe that Veterans Day has become one big feel good sandwich considering many Americans talk a big game supporting the veteran but when it comes to their actions of support, very little can be witnessed. And yes, I realize many Americans support the veteran but look around you. How many in America don’t really do anything to support them?
I had written about some pretty prominent military friendly non-profit organizations in the past. One person actually said, “Why should I support these groups considering veterans have the VA?” Do not think for a second that one person who said this is alone in such thoughts.
“Thanks for your service.” What a crock. You want to thank me? Get off your butt and help out that homeless veteran. Of America’s homeless population more than 40% are veterans.
You want to thank me? See that woman getting out of her car that displays a military decal on it with two or three children sitting inside? Go up to her and her kids and tell them how awesome it is to meet the family of a real super hero—ask for their autographs or something.
Make those kids feel like their mommy or daddy who isn’t with them is much greater than Superman or Batman. Superman and Batman are fictional characters, our veterans aren’t. Over 2 million children of veterans who deploy today are under some form of psychological counseling. That’s more than the total active duty force of the entire US Armed Forces.
Ever see Superman or Batman tip the bottle? Me either. Some of our veterans have been tipping the bottle way too long. How many friends and family have the intestinal fortitude to confront these super patriots? You want to thank me? Help the veteran to recovery from whatever their addiction may be.
But do you really want to thank me? Ever see what a highly trained military veteran can do with a weapon? We are trained to be lethal in the art of killing. You have 80 minutes to start running. Don’t run away from the fire. No, run towards it.
That’s right. In approximately 80 minutes, a veteran will take his or her own life. On average 18 veterans take their lives each day. You want to thank me? Run toward the fire and fire for effect with love, courage, and wisdom. Stop that veteran from dying right now.
Do you really want to thank me? Please, I do appreciate the kind words. But kind words aren’t enough. No, the VA isn’t enough for our veterans. We need you. We need your actions. Actions speak louder than words.
Today, on Veterans Day, find a veteran and spend some time with them. Tell them how you feel about them, show them you love them, learn their needs, and help them on their feet again because truth be told, even the most impressive physically appearing veterans are likely hurting deep down inside today.