5 Reasons Veterans Day Should Be Celebrated More Than Once a Year

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On November 11, we honor the veterans who have served our country throughout the years on Veterans Day. It's noble and lovely, and Facebook is full of old photos of grandfathers and fathers in their military uniforms and heartfelt thank-yous to the men and women who serve our country every day. But on November 12, it's over. And that's wrong.

Veterans Day shouldn't be the only day we care about soldiers. The rest of the year, many veterans are going through struggles, both financial and emotional. We, as a country, aren't providing them with enough services to help overcome them.

It's wonderful to thank a veteran for their services, but we need to do it every day, not just one day a year. Here are five reasons to think about a veteran every day, not just on November 11:

  • Homeless veterans: Homeless veterans are more likely to die than their non-veteran counterparts. A recent study from the 100,000 Homeless Campaign says those who are homeless after they return from serving are 11 percentage points more likely to develop life-threatening diseases than non-veteran homeless people. The reason isn't clear, but homeless veterans are often older than non-veterans and homeless for longer periods of time. The authors of the study said: "Men and women who risked their lives defending America may be far more likely to die on its streets." This is despicable and wrong and shouldn't even be something we're discussing.
  • Disabled veterans: Veterans suffer traumatic brain injuries and other devastating injuries that render them incapable of work sometimes and are greatly in need of proper health care and rehabilitation. There is significant evidence connecting moderate or severe brain injuries to problems such as depression, unemployment, and Parkinson's-disease-like tremors. In 2008, military officials said they had dedicated $300 million recently for research on traumatic brain injury. It's that much of a problem. Their sacrifice for this country can't be overstated and one day a year doesn't sufficiently thank them. So sure, bang the drum on November 11, but sign up to volunteer on March 12 or find out how you can help more on August 6.
  • Mental illness: Many veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which, left untreated can lead to domestic violence, erratic behavior, inability to hold a job, depression, and even suicide. It isn't something to be taken lightly or ignored. Service to one's country is only the beginning and combat can have lifetime effects that have to be addressed and not just peripherally. Every man or woman who serves our country should have a good life after returning.
  • Poor health care: The idea that a veteran should ever struggle to pay insurance premiums or have any problem getting health care is unconscionable in a society as rich as ours. It's inexcusable. And yet, many doctors don't accept the insurance the military provides to veterans. The harder it is to find a doctor, the less likely a veteran is to go to one. How is this even remotely acceptable? A better word for it: despicable. There should be no question that veterans get the best insurance and access to any doctor without having to pay out of network fees and premiums.
  • Unemployment: The jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is in the double-digits, which is much higher than the national unemployment rate, which is 9 percent. President Obama's new job bill will help to combat some of that, but the problem is much larger than just unemployment. The underlying reasons for the unemployment also need to be addressed before the problem can be truly fixed.

Veterans need money and effort to provide them with safe and stable housing, balanced meals, health care, substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, personal development, and job training and placement. This isn't something we can limit to one day a year, but is a drive that needs to be present all year long, every day.

How will you help veterans going forward?

 

Image via purpleslog/Flickr

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Pamela Jayson

This is so important. These men and women leave their hearts and minds on that battlefield. I have seen first hand how they sacrifice far more than their bodies for this country.  They come home to less than helpful conditions and very few places to turn.

Jessie Smith

Dear Sasha- Thank you so much for your article. I agree in every way. I honor all veterans all the time both in my family and every other Vet there is, ever was and ever will be. I agree that we should celebrate Vets each day and thank them whenever possible. I work at a State Hospital, with a few patients with brain injury, so I understand how devastating brain injuries can be. Please tell us more about how we can help on March 12th and August 6th.
Thanks again, for making me think more deeply about Veteran's Day

Katie Marie

Veteran's should be celebrated every day. A veteran is defined by federal law, moral code and military service as "Any, Any, Any"... A military veteran is Any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch. A war veteran is any GI (Government Issue) ordered to foreign soil or waters to participate in direct or support activity against an enemy. The operant condition: Any GI sent in harm's way. A combat veteran is any GI who experiences any level of hostility for any duration resulting from offensive, defensive or friendly fire military action involving a real or perceived enemy in any foreign theater. For any reading, please don't not confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day... there is a difference.

nonmember avatar staci tormoehl

My husband would still be with me today and be the man I married if more help would've been provided and mandatory other than pushed medications (mandatory) for soldiers who returned to their families with severe ptsd with depression. I still love you and miss you Jon, despite everything..RIP always &forever your princess

nonmember avatar Moonyene Smith

I strongly agree with your article. I work for DPSS and I see veterans who apply for welfare (gr) that are homeless and in a confused state, amongst other things. I think it is downright shameful how our Vetetans are treated after they have fought so hard to serve (save) our nation!!!! A lot of Veterans get out of the service and they do not have the support of good family and friends and this may be one of the reasons why they fall over the edge too. How is it that Veterans get a (GI) bill, but yet some of them wind up homeless, and they have the (VA) and they are mentally/emotionally disturbed. They are at the top of the list when it comes to applying for employment (just because they're a veteran). Something is definitely wrong with this picture. It's almost like saying Veterans are HEROS in the military, but ZEROS when they get out of the military. My hat goes off to all Veterans: past, present, and future. HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY to all you HEROS out there~~Not just today, but EVERYDAY!!!!

Candace Evalenko

I'm so sorry Staci, that is my biggest fear as a fellow military wife, God bless you, you've served your country with a very high price, thank you!  

Katie Marie

www.facebook.com/berubefamily


You can support a War/Combat woulded Veteran right now by liking that page and reading Matt's story and checking the other link on his page.

Carte... CartersMommy727

I completely agree with everything you said in this article.. The majority of my family are vets, and my sister is thinking about enlisting after high school.. Everyday is veterans day in our house, we always make sure my dad feels appreciated.. He also, is unemployed and disabled, its a struggle everyday for us, especially now that I'm pregnant and my family is all I have.
**However, we are also VERY grateful for the VA Hospitals in the surrounding area, they provide extraordinary care for him, all vets can get free health care through the VA, and if you know someone that needs the care, PLEASE pass that along!**

XOXOA... XOXOArmyWife

Great article; I agree! I hear about so many young people losing their lives over this war and its such an honorable thing to do; being able to be away from your lives, families, children,etc. so long and honestly they are not paid enough for all the stress and sacrifices they make. 

nonmember avatar makayla

Great article; I agree! I hear about so many young people losing their lives over this war and its such an honorable thing to do; being able to be away from your lives, families, children,etc. so long and honestly they are not paid enough for all the stress and sacrifices they make. My husband would still be with me today and be the man I married if more help would've been provided and mandatory other than pushed medications (mandatory) for soldiers who returned to their families with severe ptsd with depression.his is so important. These men and women leave their hearts and minds on that battlefield. I have seen first hand how they sacrifice far more than their bodies for this country. They come home to less than helpful conditions and very few places to turn.

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