November 10, 2014

THE PROBLEM WITH VETERANS DAY



Armistice day originated in 1919 on the one year anniversary of the end of World War I.  It was officially observed in by the powers that be in 1926 and became a national holiday in 1938. It has undergone changes in 1954, 1968, 1971 and 1975.  Most would be surprised to know that other countries celebrate this same significance in and around the same time.

Yes it is one day out of the year where we honor Living Veterans.  The day that we put aside our petty trifles to observe that there are men and women out there doing the killing so you don't have to.  Only, on this day you're supposed to put your politics aside and revere the brave men and women that decided there is a future in waging war on foreign nations.

There are many fun facts that we talk about on Veterans day.  One being that there are roughly 23 million veterans in the US. We celebrate that there are some 171 VA medical centers, 350 outpatient clinics, 126 nursing care units and 35 live in facilities for veterans.

Some not so fun facts that we don't traditionally think about on veterans day are:



There are roughly 50,000 homeless veterans in the US comprising nearly one third of adult homelessness.

340,000 Veterans rely on State or Federal Rental assistance.

900,000 Veterans rely on Food-stamps

22 Veterans kill themselves every day, that's one suicide every 65 minutes.

Nearly 1000 veterans attempt to take their own lives every month.

Suicides among active duty military members is one per day.

Veteran suicides have only been tracked since 2008.

More Military members have died from suicide than have been killed in the Afghan war.

Between 11-20% of veterans involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD.

21,000 service members have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury every year since 2000.

Of veterans involved in the Iraq and Afghan wars, 675,000 have been granted disability

The unemployment rate of Veterans is 3% higher than the rest of the population.

The divorce rate for recently returning veterans is between 30-42%

1 in 10 inmates have prior military service

Nearly 200,000 veterans are behind bars.

These are but a few facts that are disturbing to say the least.  Especially in the wake of the VA scandal and renewed wars in the middle east.  It would seem that Veterans day is but another day to ignore the real struggle of veterans.  To ignore what Armistice day was about, and end to conflict, in favor of celebrating our continued and seemingly perpetual involvement in conflict.  Conflicts that bear no fruit.

But no worries, you can head to Applebee's and a number of other restaurants and have them unload their overstocked and unpopular items on the veteran population for free.  The part that they don't tell you (or anyone else for that matter), is that its a clever marketing ploy to buy the soda they have (price not listed on the menu) and to sucker your family into patronizing their restaurant at full price.  Veterans day is big business for a lot of people.  But I digress from this disgusting string of points.

We have abused and neglected our Veterans.  From the moment we targeted them in their poor neighborhoods, to the point after war where they were sent home broken and forgotten as human beings.  I'm not asking you to hug a veteran, I'm not telling you to give something to a veteran for free, I'm asking you to hold our government accountable for the wounds inflicted upon an otherwise peaceful group of people before they were taught to kill.  We can say we have an all volunteer military but for some in the military it was merely a choice of risking their lives on the street with no skills or taking a chance at death and possibly getting an education.  Most Veterans I've met (myself included) went in as patriots and came home as suspected Domestic terrorists.

So on Veterans day, tell a Veteran how pissed off you are at how they are treated.  Tell a Veteran that you think its fucked up that the government didn't hold up its end of the bargain.  Ask a Veteran what you can do to help.  Tell a Veteran that you understand why they're pissed and mean it.  Let a Veteran know that you won't only care on Veterans day or Memorial day.  Most important of all, listen to a Veteran even if its the same tired bullshit war story you've heard 500 times; not because its Veterans day, but because tomorrow that Veteran you had a conversation with may no longer be here.

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