“Land of the free and the home of the brave.” This is one of the most recognizable slogans of The United States of America. While everyone enjoys their freedom, people tend to forget about the brave that safeguard it. Yet the war they are fighting overseas, follows them home when they return to high unemployment rates, lack of medical attention and an unlivable annual salary.
In 2013, there were 2.9 million U.S. military veterans, and within that group the unemployment rate was at 9.9%, compared to the unemployment rate of the entire population which is 5.5%. Just from the Iraq and Afghanistan war, over 200,000 veterans are considered unemployed.
If these numbers aren’t hard enough to overcome, the truth is, most veterans don’t come back from war unscathed. If they don’t have a physical injury, many veterans come home with some kind of traumatic brain injury (TBI) or PTSD. According to the 2010 study done in Psychiatric Services found that military veterans had “some” to “extreme” difficulty reintegrating into society. These numbers are unacceptable but luckily aren’t going unnoticed.
Organizations such as Returning Heroes and The Wounded Warrior Project, put money into the economy to help hire veterans, and the Department of Defense has put into effect the G.I. Bill to help retrain the veterans and reintegrate them into our society. These are great efforts, but there reality is, these veterans don’t have the time medically or financially to wait for these benefits to kick in. Something has to be done now and something has to be done fast.
Millions of men and women put their lives on the line to protect this country. The benefits aren’t spectacular but they don’t think twice to serve. They go to war to protect us, and the least we can do is take care of them when they return.
By: Jessica Vezina