Veterans in America
From your friends at: Residents 4 Arkansas
It has often been said that the campus activist has the right to protest, the flag burner has the right to burn his flag, and the minister has the right to preach the word of God freely. Thankfully for you and I we live in what’s widely considered to be the most racially tolerant, and free country in the world today. What I would like for you to do is pause for a brief second, and reflect on who actually gave us these freedoms, and why we have the rights that we do as Americans. Our freedoms, our VERY way of life has been given to us by the brave men and women who have waged our country’s battles. For the last 200 + years our country has often called these men and women to arms and less than 1% of the total population has heeded that call. The old adage certainly applies; FREEDOM IS NOT FREE….it has been paid for by the blood of patriots that have come from all economic and cultural backgrounds. It has been paid for by our VETERANS, the majority of whom served with pride and distinction. Whether you support the wars which America has waged this century, we should ALWAYS support the troops; after all they are the only one’s heeding the call. As most everyone’s aware our country royally screwed up during the height of the Vietnam War, and the many vets who returned from this conflict NEVER got the recognition and respect that they so rightfully deserved. Instead they got spat on and discriminated against. I personally consider this generation of warriors to be my personal heroes.
On this Veterans Day 2010, I challenge you to actually seek out a vet whom you may not know personally, and actually give that individual a hug….to actually say with SINCERITY “Thank you for giving me the right to live my life as I see fit!” I ‘m certain after doing this, you’ll find his or her gratitude to be overwhelming, and who knows you could actually gain a good friend in the process. Our veterans need our help, recognition and respect, and our disabled vets need all the true friends that they can get.
The purpose of this article has been to make you the reader aware of two things…1…EVERYDAY should be Veterans Day…..2….More people should be willing to step up and answer our nation’s call. With that said, we also wanted to briefly discuss some of the challenges that our vets are faced with on a daily basis, some of the challenges that you might not be aware of. Here is a known fact, in our country on any given day there are over 200,000 homeless vets scattered across all 50 states. Of this before mentioned figure, 40% of homeless MEN are veterans…and 16% of homeless men and women who occupy overnight shelters are veterans. At this point and time, you may be asking yourself this; “How can that be the case?” The answer to that lies with the mental wounds of combat, which are not seen by the average person, something called PTSD. The human mind was not meant to be subject to the horror of cradling your best friend in your arms as he lay bleeding out from a shotgun blast to the head. The human mind was not meant to deal with being surrounded by piles of burning bodies, the morbid stench of charred flesh and the brutality of being beaten on everyday inside of an enemy prison camp. These images, these memories never leave the human mind once their nasty tentacles have taken firm hold. As a result, many of our veterans, have found numerous ways to cope, some have found comfort in the arms of their families, others have found solace in the Lord, others still have directed their energies to helping other veterans cope, and others still have turned to drugs and alcohol. The later of the mentioned sources of comforts are all too easy to come by. Take alcohol for example, it’s the most widely abused thing in our country, and drugs….just walk a few blocks from your house in about every sizable city and you can get whatever you want whenever you want, and however you want it. It’s all too easy to pass judgment when we see someone asking for a dollar on the street, it’s all too easy to walk away from someone whom we do not know. Before you walk away remember that 40% of homeless men are veterans…..remember that this person probably fought for your freedom and our way of life. The majority of our homeless veterans across America are dealing with complex issues which thankfully a good majority of American’s will never have to face. The next question that you may be asking yourself is this: “Well why don’t they just get help, or better yet go to some counseling center?” My reply to that baseless statement would be, have you ever tried to admit that YOU have a serious problem….when you know one exists, ie chemical dependency and or alcoholism? It’s a helluva lot easier to say that someone should just get help, when you are not the one needing the assistance. In closing I would like to say a THANK YOU to all the men and women who have served our country and I would like to say THANK YOU again to all the service members who still wear the uniform today. Because of your valiant actions, I am free to sit here and write this article.
With Humble Regards
Kenneth wade Aden
Director: “Residents 4 Arkansas”
Advisor: “Citizens 4 Change” Dayton Inc.