It’s Veteran’s Day, a day to thank the brave warriors who answer the call to serve and protect us. Americans have the privilege to live in a place where we can go about our daily lives secure and protected like no other country on Earth because young men and women continue to raise their right hand and take the oath to protect our country. For the past ten years, America has been at war. Nevertheless, young men and women continue to make the oath knowing that politicians will place them in harm’s way. They do it because they feel it will make a better life for their family, their community, and their country.
Their dedication inspires me. I want to fight for them here in America, in battles of justice where Veterans continue to be honorable and generous, and we the civilian and the politicians we elect, continue to take them for granted. Many do not think that Veteran’s Day is a time for political discussion. That type of thing is frowned upon. I think Veteran’s Day is exactly the day for political discussion until these warriors and their families who sacrifice so much have the benefits and care that they deserve.
Let’s do more than say ‘Thank You’. Let’s put that emotion into motion, and demonstrate gratitude in meaningful ways. No one person has to do everything, but if more people did something, just one thing, we could make life better for our veterans and their families and that is a great way to say ‘Thank You’!
You can help out, give some time to a military family. Particularly when you know they have a soldier or sailor who is serving overseas. Help your military neighbor out by offering to mow the lawn, shovel the walk, take the kids to the park, or bring over something to eat to take the burden off the spouse left at home. Maybe stay and have a talk. All parents know the value of having a few minutes to yourself for self-care and the value of another adult to talk to every once and awhile. Some military spouses go 18-months, even 2 years without seeing their wife or husband regularly. That kind of true dedication to our country deserves community support. There is no cost but time.
If you don’t know any military families personally there are also many kinds of volunteer opportunities with the Department of Veteran Affairs . Take some time to learn more about how you can lend your time and talents to help veterans and their families.
Hire a Vet
The Obama administration launched the Veterans Job Bank website today, aimed to connect employers with veterans that have the appropriate skill-sets needed to fill jobs. This is a win-win for the employer and the returning veteran. Congress will be voting on the Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which includes tax credits of $2,400 to $9,600 for employers who hire unemployed veterans and keep them employed for a least a year. One way to say thank you to a vet is to offer him/her a job.
When the military is at work, they are in a war zone. They are often not in a position to keep up with the current events and issues that matter to them most. Because they are busy defending us, some of us can be busy defending them keeping up with veteran’s issues and staying in contact with our elected officials to be sure that they are honoring our men and women in uniform with the high standards that they deserve.
The Independent Budget of the Department of Public Affairs for Fiscal Year 2011 identifies the following as critical issues for veterans, here are a few:
Sufficient, Timely, and Predictable Funding for VA Health Care – The Department of Veterans Affairs must receive sufficient funding for veterans health care and Congress must reform the funding process to ensure sufficient, predictable, and timely VA health-care funding. The Continuing Challenge of Caring for War Veterans-The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs face unprecedented challenges in meeting the needs of a new generation of war veterans and their families while continuing to provide effective care for veterans injured or ill from earlier military conflicts. Claims Process Improvements Needed- While simultaneously enhancing training and increasing individual and managerial accountability, Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs must take definitive steps to reduce delays in the disability claims process caused by policies and practices that were developed in a disjointed and haphazard manner. Education, Employment, and Training- Positive transition from military service to civilian life hinges on veterans’ ability to be competitive in the workforce; therefore, it is imperative that Congress fund these programs to meet increasing needs.
Find a need that you can help with or feel passionate about lobbying the government so our men and women in uniform can know we have their backs the way we know we can trust that they have our backs so many miles away.
Donations to the USO, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), or The Disabled American Veterans Memorial Foundation are just a few of the many fine organizations that support our military. If you are in the position to offer a free service or discount to veterans that is another way to give back. When you support these organizations, you support our military in a meaningful way.
Get involved with your neighborhood, church, or civic group to brainstorm innovative ways to help veterans in your community. There are many ways that people can offer their time and talents to the needs of veterans in their community. Don’t just say thank you this Veterans Day, show a veteran your gratitude in a meaningful way.
Click here to see a list of fine businesses offering veterans freebies and discounts on Veteran’s Day.