Skip navigation

Daily Archives: November 11th, 2014

Old Glory

Old Glory

I’ve always felt that Veteran’s Day was something to pause and think about. Think about those who served our country and are still serving our country. Think about those we know and love, and those we’ve never met. Think about how war affects our lives even if we are not involved in the conflict. Think about how war drives our economy, our country. Think about how war is hell, for everyone involved.

I may have changed the way I think about war over the years, but I will never change the way I feel about our service members. Those who were forced into mandatory duty and those who volunteered. I see honorable people, who served with the best of intentions. Those who felt duty bound to fight well. Those who made it back home alive, albeit forever changed. And those who are gone but not forgotten.

I have a long list of people I know and love who have served or are serving. Some of those folks aren’t with us anymore. I am thankful for their presences in my life, for each of them bring something special just by being.

But I still wish that they didn’t have to… oh for the day when war is no more.

One of those reasons I have changed my view on war and Nationalism in general is the fact that 22 veterans commit suicide, every single day.


Put that number in the front of your mind.

Twenty-two veterans come to the end of their rope every day. Why? In part because of the extreme duress they experience during conflict. Partly because of coming “home” is never the same, because they are never the same. Assimilating back into society can be near impossible for some people, it was hard for my Dad. There can be physical challenges for Vets such as amputation or loss of hearing, sight or other things that we take for granted each day. There are mental challenges, those hidden scars that we simply don’t acknowledge because if we did we might have to examine our Nationalism a little closer…

Another issue is homelessness. HUD estimates that on any given night there are around 50,000 veterans who are sleeping on the streets. This number is simply hypothetical as there is really no specific count of veterans who are homeless. We do know that there are a lot of Vets sleeping on the streets.  Right behind them are an estimated 1.4 million veterans who are “at risk” for becoming homeless due to poverty, lack of support and poor housing conditions. We don’t like to talk about this much, it is one of those inconvenient truths about the effects of our war efforts have on those who are doing the job that others only dream up from the comfort of their elected offices.

Mental health is a huge issue for veterans and their families. War is hell. I think I’ve said this a few times now, you get the picture. Not only for the returning service member but for those who kept the home fires burning as well. PTSD is being diagnosed in greater numbers for both military personnel and their family members. Many veterans suffer from un-diagnosed PTSD and self medicate with drugs and/or alcohol. Which leads to its own set of additional problems, such as unemployment, homelessness, deteriorating health, broken families, abuse, etc.

So today when you are honoring those you know and love for their service (rightly so) also remember the forgotten Vets. The ones on the street. The ones trying to drown their horrors in a bottle. And those staring their own death (by their own hand) in the face one last time… Perhaps you can let these people know that they are not forgotten. A donation to a helpful charity. Buy a Vet a meal. Better yet, make a Vet your friend. You just never know what may come of your kindness in the life of another human being.




VA-funded National Veterans Crisis 1-800-273-8255

Alaska Veterans Assisting Veterans


ETA: I made a few changes and additions to this post partly due to the inspiration of my friend. Thank you Charity for reminding me.