Since this great country first fought for liberty and freedom it has been our citizens that have stepped forward, gun in hand, to get the job done, this was the beginning of our military. Throughout our history, in war after war, our brave citizens have fought for what this country believes in, what they believe in. Conviction of what we believe in the heart is very strong; we fought a war that pitted Americans against Americans, family members against family members. On any given day we hear of threats to our American way of life, liberty and freedom.
Today 22 veterans commit suicide on a daily basis. They suffer PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; they are often homeless,unemployed, some turn to alcohol, drugs. The pressure builds, the feelings of loneliness and no longer belonging grow, with no way to relieve their emotions. After WWI and WWII our brave members of the military came home on ships, together, they had time together to talk about what they just came through, what they saw and survived, time to support each other. They were given tickertape parades with thousands cheering. We saw the formation of “VFW’s” and “American Legions”, fraternal organizations where these men could gather and support each other, listen to what they have shared and what they now share. Men’s clubs where they may gather, play pool, darts, music, and have a drink as they relieve the pressures of their emotions. Soon these Veterans clubs became social, for profit, clubs with social memberships.
Those who fought in the Korean War came home to less celebration. Soon the veterans of the Viet Nam police action returned home, not in weeks on ships but on planes that had them home in a day. They returned to a very split country, those for and those against the Viet Nam War. There were few celebrations, and many were cursed, spat upon, and called names like “Baby killers”. They became confused with feelings of estrangement, shunned by those they have sworn to defend.
May I add another chapter here, throughout history there have been women who stepped forward, patching up the wounded and caring for them as they healed, they witnessed the carnage and horrors of war on a very personal level, up close and personal. In recent years they have donned uniforms picked up weapons and moved to fighting on the front lines. So what do we do to help? Have you thanked a veteran today, not just on holidays/national holidays but every day? Have you done anything to help the homeless veterans? As long as we have need for a military we will have veterans, as long as we have veterans we must be ready to bring them home to this great country, they have done so much to defend and keep free the least we can do is welcome them home with respect.
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