“The ones that love you the most are the ones willing to fight for you”
The popular video “Wrong Side of Heaven” by Five Finger Death Punch (Video Below) is certainly not new, but you may have seen it making its rounds on social media networks again lately. The video is quite powerful and highlights the saddening statistics surrounding our veterans in the United States who are coping with PTSD every day. Some of the statistics in this particular video appear to be on the high side came from sources which I do not know, but this does not mean that the issue is not real. We have been sending men and women into battle in the Middle East now for more than 12 consecutive years resulting in the deaths of 4493 US soldiers and over 32000 wounded (Source). In addition to the wounded who have survived are the other heroes among them who have returned from battle seemingly unscathed. I say seemingly because although they were not physically wounded, many have seen the face of death and brought it to others as well which can take a toll on mental well being more than most of us can possibly imagine.
According to the US Department for Housing and Urban Development, there are an estimated 57,849 veterans on the streets during a single night in 2013 (Source)
I will never be able to forget the expressions on the faces of some great friends when they got off the bus after their return from Baghdad. Many of the people in this particular unit I knew quite well and many returned with this blankness on their faces despite their joy of returning home. If I recall correctly, fortunately this unit did not encounter any deaths during their tour but had been under fire during numerous occasions and was hit by IEDs while patrolling in their Humvees with mostly only minor issues as a result. Except for others who have gone through these events, most of us back home can never imagine what the experience was like. Fortunately those who I knew the most on that bus have since overcame many of the post-effects of war, but still many years later, several now undergo great stress during fireworks displays around the 4th of July. PTSD is real, and affects many of those around us. Each person copes in a different way, some get over all of it, some get over most of it, some get over none of it. Regardless of any individuals ability to cope or their progress of coping, they all deserve the help from everyone and more than they are being provided my the government in return for their duty.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD affects 11-20% of soldiers who have served in OIF/OEF; 12% during the Gulf War; and as high as 30% in veterans of the Vietnam War (Source)
With the problems of our economy today, financial cuts are being made across the board, including cuts in benefits to our veterans. These men and woman have done their duty (or still doing it) and deserve to have the highest level of support and treatment when they return home and continue their lives up until death. Here in the state of Connecticut, Governor Malloy is proposing making some significant cuts to veteran affairs including cuts to veterans funeral honors despite the Governors budget chief seeing a salary increase from $187k to $210k. It is apparent our goverment in it’s current state is not providing for our veterans properly so it is up to us to help and change this. Get involved with local veterans organizations, get involved in political discussions around funding for veterans affairs and help the vets you know. As I am writing this, citizens of Connecticut are rallying together against this proposed budget cut, I encourage you all to do your part as well. If you are in Connecticut and can join everyone at the Capitol Building in Hartford today please do (You can follow today’s rally at https://www.facebook.com/events/1426343990999628. For those outside of Connecticut, keep informed of what is going on in your area and get involved to help our veterans. We will be glad to help promote any similar events country-wide, just send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a very short list (in no particular order) of some of the charitable organizations out there helping our veterans.
If you would like to add an organization to this list please email the information to email@example.com. No organization is too small.
Please help out to support those who have given everything for us all and make a donation to your organization of choice today.