Career Calling

May 28, 2012

What Does Memorial Day Mean to Unemployed Vets?

Actions do speak louder than words.  Across America on this Memorial Day, speeches were made praising the sacrifices of veterans.  I’m not criticizing such speeches.  We need to remember our vets, especially those who are alive and struggling.

In today’s Think Progress, Amanda Petersen Beadle reports that unemployment is having its hardest impact on vets between the ages of 35-64, a group that would include individuals who fought in Vietnam, the first Gulf  War, and current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those who served outside of combat zones.  Younger vets have access to benefits and services that are not available to older veterans.

A friend of mine is trying to start a business that would help disabled veterans.  He has told me that many veterans he is trying to hire can only be on the job for 4 hours per day because of lasting war injuries.  Even if they are paid a decent wage, they cannot work enough hours to earn enough money that would let them live independently.  My friend wants to set up a housing facility that would enable the vets to live in a dorm.  His mission is to help.  How many other businesses will be willing or able to do that?

Memorial Day is a great time to honor the sacrifice of those who served in the military.  It’s also a great time to be honest with ourselves about the problems facing vets who are injured or homeless or unemployed.  Now it is our time to sacrifice for them.

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