Veterans Day: Home(less) Of The Brave

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The famed chiasmus articulated in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address stated: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This was a rallying call to all American citizens on January 20th 1961, in an effort to inspire them to seek to do the better good for their country. As we have now reached the celebration that is known as Veteran’s Day, it is safe to say that nothing exemplifies doing “the better good” for your country, more so than enlisting in the Armed Services. All of those individuals, whether drafted or freely volunteering, display an incomparable level of bravery that can never truly be acknowledged by one designated day of recognition. These individuals exchange their lives and livelihoods in an effort to secure a world that is consistently on the brink of anarchy and instability. Our so called “freedom” comes with a heavy price tag, as the lives of those young, brave men and women who serve our great country, are often in the line of fire every second of the hour so that we can function under the pretense of “life, love and the pursuit of happiness”. The word “honorable” is one of the very few words that I feel that can justly describe the type of character that individuals like this exhibits. I have family members and friends who have dedicated their lives to service and to them and all enlistees I salute and pray for their safety. It is this profound respect that I have for them that encouraged my blog topic, which is the homeless Veterans in our country. Veterans make up 13% of the homeless population in this country. A majority of those homeless veterans are single males, with female veterans making up only approximately 8% of the total number. It is estimated that 40% of the homeless veteran population are either Hispanic or African American, with 51% being Caucasian. Studies regarding the ages of those who are homeless show that 9% are between the ages of 18 to 30, with 40% ranging between the ages of 31 to 50. Projections show that there could be a possible 1.4 million veterans at risk of being homeless in the near future due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. Other contributing factors to the veterans homeless situation, is the large number of displaced and at-risk veterans who live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. These are often compounded due to a lack of family and social support networks. In addition, the military training received during their tenure of service are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, which places veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment in the open market. The only combatant to these troubling circumstances have been community based, non profit veterans helping veteran programs that look to provide living stability and substance free environments. But the fact still remains that some 62,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Such a startling revelation knowing that they have sacrificed so much, only to be left defenseless and vulnerable on the very streets they fight to secure day in and day out. They answered the chiasmus by giving their better good, now it’s time for our country to do the same for them. #food, clothing & shelter

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