Today in the U.S. is Veteran’s Day, the day we honor all those who have served our country from the Revolutionary War to present.
The Revolutionary War won our freedom as a new country. The Civil War was the bloodiest. During World War I thousands of soldiers died in battle but most died of the plague. Then, there was World War II. Regardless of how you feel about atomic bombs you have to be grateful for the end of that war on all fronts and the liberation of those in concentration camps, east and west. Our soldiers are buried all over the world because of that war, particularly in France.
Those who served in Korea and Vietnam were not honored when they returned from deployment. I have family and friends included in that bunch. Fortunately we have learned our lesson. When it came time for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan we made sure that the emotional abandonment of our soldiers by those of us at home never happened again. Political landscapes will no longer dictate our treatment of our soldiers.
The Veterans Administration indicates four to five veterans commit suicide each day. In 2007, the Inspector General’s Office indicated that the suicide rate for veterans who served in Iraq/Afghanistan might have been as high as 7.5 times the national average. 20% of 300,000 returning veterans from there were likely to suffer post-traumatic stress or major depression. Let’s remember that because we still have plenty of soldiers out there in harms way.
Today let’s take a pause from red cups, Black Friday discussions, and being incensed about front lawn holiday VS Christmas decorations. Instead let’s pray for those in harm’s way and for those trying to recover from being in harm’s way. We can ask Sts. Ignatius Loyola, Francis of Assisi, and Joan of Arc to join us in those prayers. They were all soldiers.
And don’t forget the flag.
Here is a resource for Veterans who may think they are suffering from depression: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/depression.asp
Picture is of the 179th Honor Guard, property of the US government, public domain.