For centuries, America’s military has played a prominent role in our country’s well-being.
Because of the bravery that our troops have exemplified, America has not fought a war on its own soil since the Civil War of 1861 – 65. More recently, they have defended our country from terrorism for nearly a decade. However, when these soldiers transcend to veteran status, the federal government doesn’t seem to show its gratitude on a consistent basis. Appreciation for veterans and their heroic acts has been disregarded by citizens of our nation.
Some veterans go without jobs and others go without respect from their employers. These are just some of the things that plague veterans upon completing their tour of duty. Although not all veterans go through experiences such as these, far too many have.
There has been an increase in the unemployment rate for young veterans. The Labor Department estimates that “the unemployment rate last year for young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars hit 21.1 percent,” and “the number was well above the 16.6 percent jobless rate for non-veterans of the same ages, 18 to 24. It was significantly higher than the 2008 unemployment rate among veterans in that age group: 14.1 percent.”
Violence as a result of this economic uncertainty may lead some veterans to commit unfathomable acts. In August, Matthew Magdzas, 23, an Iraq War veteran, killed himself immediately after killing his wife, his one-year-old daughter and three dogs. The Superior, Wis. man left no suicide note that gave any hints as to why he did this. But the Veterans Administration released details of Magdzas’ battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The “DC Sniper,” is another example of someone who did the unthinkable for what was believed to have been dismissive treatment by the government after the 1991 Gulf War.
Situations like this occur more often than is necessary. If there were more jobs and extensive counseling services for the veterans there would be less of this violence.
The shortage and lack of regard for such benefits for these veterans displays poor preparation for their homecoming. Americans cannot say that they are patriotic and support our troops while they still have no benefits at their disposal available for them when they come back.
The definition of respect is, “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.”
Based on a conversation with Tia Gilmore, a Navy ROTC student from Mitchellville, MD., the level of respect for veterans needs to be revamped. “When we’re on active duty ordinary US citizens think we’re just on vacation sometimes because of the locations we’re based in,” Gilmore said.
Something needs to change in how America treats its veterans with regard to the scope of the benefits they receive in civilian life. They’ve fought hard for us and its time that they feel appreciated.