I feel so badly that I haven’t posted on here for awhile. To be honest, I have been up to my ears writing other things; a new blog, a book which will be out in a few weeks and I never wanted this blog to just have “filler”.
So many things have happened since the last post. Great issues to consider discussing; the presidential primary race, birth control and the Susan B. Komen foundation, the religious refusal to honor aspects of the new Health Care law and even the controversial killing of Trayvon Martin. But the other day I encountered 2 young men asking for a donation for some of their own who were homeless and I was appalled.
You see these men were both wearing military garb; fatigues and they were in front of a local grocery store asking for anything for homeless veterans. I was appalled because I cannot fathom or discern why America would permit any veteran to be without a home. Oh, I realize members of the military often deal with extreme forms of PTSD and other instabilities when they return from the battleground. I realize some can’t find work and some are bitter and disillusioned once they return home to America. But I cannot understand how we allow anyone who has served in our Armed Forces to end up without a decent home once they return.
These are individuals who have put their life on the line so you and I can experience freedom. These are people who have slept less than a few hours a night regularly in full battle uniform in heat above 100 degrees in the middle of a desert sand storm. These may have been individuals who left loved ones including unborn children to face a mission often so confusing and complex they are not sure what the purpose is yet they know they have a job they must do and a command they have no choice but to obey.
Several weeks ago, Sgt. Robert Bales was accused of mass murdering civilians in Afghanistan. A friend who has served in Afghanistan described it once as a country with less than Third World Nation hope. While Sgt. Bale’s actions are for another discussion, it is apparent that many who serve in our country’s military now face situations far different than those in previous generations. Statistics indicate that over 76,000 soldiers were diagnosed with some form of PTSD between 2000-2011.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans indicates that on any given night approximately 67,000 veterans are homeless and that homeless veterans account for nearly 1/3 of the entire adult homeless population. While no number can be exact, it is apparent veterans have an overwhelming need for support, employment and decent housing. I don’t think anyone should be homeless, but I especially think we have failed as Christians to rally to the cause of why individuals who have been trained to respect freedom, demonstrate physical and mental aptitude, survive brutal training and unselfishly put themselves in harms way should ever return home and face lack of decent housing and opportunity. This is not entitlement. This is an earned right that many others would never choose to earn given what they would be required to do to be eligible.
Two young men simply standing requesting a small donation for their brothers and sisters who left perhaps a youth behind and grew up far faster than most have to because of their military commitment.
Saying we have this many homeless veterans is like saying we live in Utopia but cannot make ends meet…but wait; maybe that is what is happening. We may try and take care of our less fortunate, our sick, our physically and mentally handicapped and still be doing a poor job, but when we fail to take care of those who have put their life on the line, we have failed in the very essence of humanity. We have treated our veterans as little more than expendable animals who can fend for themselves once they have served their masters.
There are many programs for veterans, but if they were working, I hardly think 1/3 of homeless population would be those who served our nation. What do you think?
- Homeless Female Veterans on the Rise (thetruthhaschanged.com)
- Battle over disability pay worse than fighting Taliban, says discouraged Afghan vet (homecomingvets.wordpress.com)
- Caring for the Invisible Wounds of War (seanphilpott.wordpress.com)