As November 11th approaches, we as a nation remember and recall those that have served and returned to our shores as ‘watchers of our walls’.
A veteran (from Latin vetus, meaning “old”) is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field, in this writing it’s someone who has had experience in the armed forces.
Veteran’s Day came originally as Armistice Day, on the cessation of hostilities November 11th, 1918. Armistice Day became a Federal holiday in the US in 1938 and after WWII and The Vietnam War became what we celebrate as Veteran’s Day.
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs states, “The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) is to fulfill our Nation’s promise to Veterans for their service and sacrifice to our Nation.” It is essential to the fruition of our goals and dreams to have this protection from both enemies far and near, and not only adhere to the mission aforementioned, but to take into account the effects of war and service on the psyche of a human being.
A recent television program reminded us of this aspect of war on a person. “We’re not built to kill. We don’t have claws or fangs or armor. Vets that came back with PTSD, that didn’t happen because we’re comfortable with killing. We’re not. We can’t be. We feel. We’re connected.”
Simply stated, our fellow citizens come back from duty and in some way or another are affected by their time serving. Programs are in place to help with rehabilitation and reintegration into normalcy though it’s not hard to imagine someone not wanting help or being uneasy about admitting to aid, whether it be monetary, education or health wise.
If this happens with people who don’t serve in the military, so it could be an even more abstract feeling to someone who is trained in some ways to be brave, keen and helpful; not weak, demoralized and in need. For all the strength and years of service of these men and women give, there is depth to their dilemmas that we should not make assumptions about. Alternatively, it’s much more helpful to offer help or guidance towards facilities, organizations and forums (both physical and online) capable of providing relatability and help to veterans. Job counseling, financial aid information, health insurance and allowances are all things that service men and women come back to, and the aforementioned resources can allow these folks to reintegrate at a more efficient level than without any assistance at all.
In the end, our shores are safer and have been since the formation of the Continental Army in 1775, which marks 240 years of people braving the unknown for our well being.
So on this Veteran’s Day at 11 am, when the procession for the different branches of military takes place at Arlington Cemetery, take a moment if possible to ponder on the sacrifice and duty that millions of American citizens (and those wanting to become one) have offered us, those looking for purpose, peace, adventure and a new life through service.
For more information visit va.gov
The Veteran’s crisis line
1-800-273-8255. The San Jose Vet Center at 440 North 1st Street,Suite 120 San Jose, CA can be reached at
408-993-0729 Or 877-927-8387. The Office of Veteran’s
68 N. Winchester Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA can be reached at 408-918-4980.