Thank a Veteran This Memorial Day
Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Time for parades and barbecues. Meanwhile let us not forget to say thank you.
As we celebrate the long weekend. Make plans for picnics, parades and food. It is not without our veterans that we have this luxury.
I personally come from a family of veterans. Both my grandfather’s served in the military as did my mother. Many that will read this have lost family members and friends in the many wars that have been served.
When we decide to show gratitude for these men and women of our armed forces. It goes beyond throwing a parade or flying our flag. Many of these men and women sacrificed their futures for us as well.
Statistically many of the homeless that you pass by on the street today on your way to the party or parade. They are veterans that fought to protect our country. Yet when they returned, they have been ignored. They deserve more, they deserve better, some need real help others just need a hand.
“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”
~ Red Poppies
Cities and towns consider them blight. Just yesterday I read an article about how a service center for them is a problem for the community. If the communities did what was needed many of these veterans would be celebrated rather than discarded. This Memorial Day as we tend to cemeteries of those that have passed, let us all remember those that are present.
After the parties and picnics have died down and the parades have moved on. The veterans on the street corners and hidden in the alleys remain.
Why are veterans homeless?
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, “In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness – extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care – a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.”
Here are some eye-opening statistics
- Approx. 33% of homeless males in the U.S. are veterans.
- The number of homeless Vietnam-era veterans, male and female, is greater than the number of soldiers who died during the war.
- Veterans represent 11% of the adult civilian population, but 26% of the homeless population, according to the Homeless Research Institute (2007).
- On any given night, more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters in the U.S.
With these statistics, America has a problem with the way we treat our veterans. We celebrate their service and yet struggle to return the favor. There is so much American History and human currency living on our streets. Rather than treating them as a nuisance we should be thanking them for their service. The next time you pass by that crazy lady or dirty man, remember they could have saved your life, maybe you should salute them.
To all the men and women of our armed forces, both past, present and future I personally say ‘thank you’ and ‘God Bless you’ for your service. I fully acknowledge without your sacrifice we would not live in the greatest country. I honor and recognize you on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and every other day of the year.
Do you have a veteran that has passed that you would like to remember this Memorial Day and have others pray for? Comment below and give them a place to be remembered and honored eternally.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.