Post 6125 Voice of Democracy winner
by Douglas Campbell
Why is the veteran important? The veteran is important because he or she is a symbol in America--a symbol of strength and honor which gives something for younger generations to look up to and aspire to be like. Veterans fight for our freedom, and that gives civilians hope in times of conflict. They are a staple of the United States’ fighting power and are a prime example of the indomitable human spirit. As a kid I grew up looking up to my dad who fought in Afghanistan, and I always wanted to be a veteran like him. My dad always inspired me to be a man and accept the responsibilities of my actions; views that I know were instilled in him through his time and experience in the military. I know that countless Americans have too been inspired by our veterans. As we move forward though, the government seems ready to leave our veterans behind.
If veterans are clearly such an important part of our country, people, and beliefs, then why does it seem as though the government is ready to throw them out like a stray dog once they get home? Veterans fight, serve, and put their lives on the line for our country, yet when push comes to shove, they are disregarded like spent casings. On average 44 U.S. veterans commit suicide daily. It is all-too common for a veteran to come home to no-one, family having moved or passed while they were overseas. I can only imagine the spiraling depression that would ensue because of this. But veterans are a symbol of peace? They give everything for our country and yet what they get in return is PTSD, no where to go, and a high chance of suicide weighing over them; the meat grinder that is war having taken its toll over their minds. Is this really the state we want America to be stuck in? No hope for those who sacrificed everything for us?
Though it may seem like grim tidings, there is something we can do to help. As veterans I ask you to serve once more, not for our country but for the people our country seems to leave behind. Consider donating to charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project which is a group that are actively trying to help the U.S. vets down on their luck. In more ways than just homeless vets and PTSD, they offer a plethora of support resources for vets. If you are able, join your local VFW post, or, find another veteran’s resource to help out. Do what you can to help spread the word of aid for the vets who need it and help them remember why they are so important to us.
As former president Abraham Lincoln said “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” The people and country may forget our veterans, but we must never forget the impact that they had on our lives. We must always remind ourselves why they are so important to us. Why that symbol of freedom is worth more than whatever they get when they return home. The veteran is important because they put everything on the line to protect us, and we owe them everything in return.