There are certain people out there that have great courage and perseverance. People that are willing to give it all to ensure that complete strangers are safe. In many cases, these individuals are usually forgotten to time, forgotten by those they fought for, and forgotten by those that employed them. Veterans are a special breed, the courage you need to even consider joining one of the 5 branches of the military is immense. Yet, for some reason, people fail to see what they do, people fail to appreciate all they sacrifice, people fail them because of who they are.
You may not know what a veteran is, but you should. I’m sure you know about the military, you probably envision these big and strong, muscular men that run into the face of danger. In reality, they’re people, just like you, a human. They’re teenagers, mothers, fathers, someone’s son or daughter. It doesn’t matter what branch they join, whether it be the Marine Corps, Army, or even the Coast Guard, they are all servicemen and women. And our country glorifies and honors these people, those in active service currently overseas fighting in wars for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hold parades for these individuals and we shower them in confetti and American flags. Nevertheless, there are people out there who look past all that, and they only see the wrong service members do. What happens when these people witness terrible things, they are forced to do terrible things to survive? They develop two things, PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can cause episodes of terror when veterans visualize the things they’ve seen or they dream about it. The other thing veterans can develop is severe depression, which is just an uncontrollable sadness. These veterans, who were once these valiant beings, are now forced to live on the streets when they come back from fighting a war because no one wants to hire these so-called “murderers.”
What happens when you combine PTSD, with depression, and with homelessness? You get an average of 22 veteran suicides each day. Twenty-two heroes, who decide that they would feel better if they were dead, then having to deal with not just their own personal problems, but the oppression of others. Veterans already have a lot to deal with on their own, and the fact that people are so terrible to them is incomprehensible to me. Sure, not all of them are good, some commit war crimes which are just unacceptable. But, veterans for the most part are amazing people. The way some people treat them disgusts me. People hold anti-military protests, they spit in the face of homeless vets, and worst of all, some people pretend they don’t even exist. My question to those people is simply, why? The reason you can hold these anti-military protests is because the very people you are denouncing, died for your right to have them. Sure, there are organizations such as the VA, which is the Veterans Administration, but there are so many vets in need that usually the waiting time for a simple meeting could be years. Often times, the Suicide Hotline, which doubles as the Veteran Crisis Hotline, (1-800-273-8255) is a veteran’s only hope. The most recent tragedy in the veteran community occurred on the night of July 6th, 2020, two days after July 4th. Master Sgt. Andrew ‘Andy’ Christian Marckesano, who the Army considered to be their “Captain America,” a man who served nearly a dozen combat tours, took a gun to his head and pulled the trigger in front of his wife and two of his three kids. The reason? He was fed up with the hate military members and his “brothers in blue,” which are the police, were receiving. He had just landed a job at the Pentagon which was highly sought after, but he couldn’t take it anymore. He is one of 20 veterans who killed themselves that day.
We shouldn’t be against these people, we should protect them when they are most vulnerable, because they protect us, who are vulnerable every second. You don’t have to go ahead and donate large amounts of money to the VA or other organizations, you don’t even have to give homeless vets money, (although it would surely help their situation) but if you see a homeless person with a sign that says “veteran,” don’t be hesitant to talk to them. Most of the time, that’s all they want, to be noticed, to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t hate them. Who knows, you could save their life because we never know what anyone is going through. In conclusion, you shouldn’t just respect veterans everywhere, but you should acknowledge what they’ve done for you, what they’ve sacrificed for you. My own dad is a vet and I don’t know what I would do if he just decided he was sick of everything. I myself want to join the military when I’m older so veterans are very important people to me. Thank you for reading.
Thanks to Holly Mindrup for the photo. It can be found on unsplash.com.
Luis Avalos – Fenwick – DMSF