By David Peel
The other day I was at the Grizzlies play off game and noticed how few people even put their phone down during the National Anthem. Many did not place their hand over their heart, take off their hats, or look at the flag. I guess I have not noticed it before, but I was disturbed. As an Eagle Scout, we were taught respect for the flag and those who fought underneath it. Memorial Day Weekend has become, for most of us, just a three-day weekend to barbecue and vacation.
It was supposed to be more.
Here are some discussion points that you can bring up with family and friends to address how best to honor our veterans:
Memorial Day is the holiday in which we pay tribute to those who lost their lives in combat.
Veterans Day pays tribute to all veterans, living or dead. In the United States, Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11 every year, the same day that World War I hostilities formally ended (at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).
Today’s military consists of an all-volunteer force. The U.S. military draft ended over 40 years ago in 1973.
26 of our Presidents came to office as Veterans, including William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and most recently, George W. Bush.
There are currently more than 2 million female veterans in the United States.
More United States troops have died from suicide than have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
From 2002 to December 2012, 253,330 service members were diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of some kind.
As a result of battle injuries in the Iraq War, at least 991 service members received wounds that required amputations; 797 lost major limbs, such as a leg.
In Afghanistan, at one point, 724 service members have had to undergo amputations, with 696 losing a major limb.
The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is reported as high as 10 perfect — much higher than the national rate.
A military veteran somewhere in the U.S. attempts suicide at least every half hour, and one commits suicide every 65 minutes. 22 military veterans commit suicide every day. 31 percent of these suicides were veterans aged 49 and younger.
Veterans make up 12% of the adult homeless population. 70 percent of those homeless veterans suffer from substance abuse, while 50 percent experience mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which makes it harder to maintain relationships and hold down a job.
Americans continue to pay their respects to our veterans. The National World War II Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial both receive well over 4.4 million visitors every year.
In 2010 alone, more than $291 billion was donated to Veterans charities according to the Giving USA Foundation.
Still, nothing feels like enough. After watching the movie American Sniper, I felt again challenged to thank the Sheep dogs who protect the sheep from the wolves that seek to kill and destroy. We need them on that wall, and when some return (for not all will), we must respect, honor and help. Thank you Veterans. Thank you for your service. Thank you to the many families who did without them so they could stand for us. We are forever in your debt.
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
~ George Orwell
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
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