182. Remembering Veterans 365 Days a Year


I’ve always been amused by the tradition of designating one day each year to celebrate  the importance of various groups. Don’t get me wrong. I think honoring people is important but it’s also important to carry this sense of honor for people throughout the entire year .  When it comes to honoring our Veterans we should carry a sense of gratitude each and every day of the year for all of our Veterans who have given so much to this country. And during each day of the year we should honor these brave soldiers by deeds that show how much we appreciate their sacrifices.

On Veterans Day our schools close, the government takes a holiday and we have a day of rememberance for all those Veterans who have served this country.  This year I  closely observed  how we honored those veterans who find themselves homeless. You see, we do so little for our homeless veterans throughout the year so I was hoping that on Veterans Day there might have been some inspiring events that would bring the issue of our homeless veterans to the limelight if only for one day. Other than the media pictures of President Elect Obama placing a wreath at a memorial for our Veterans who have died in service there was little if any mention about celebrations for our growing homeless veteran population. I expanded my search and found the following  special Veterans Day events for our homeless Vets.

Homeless Veterans in San Francisco were given goodie bags.

It was a nice gesture, said each of the six dozen homeless veterans who got one. A pair of socks and a granola bar were a good start, and a lot better than nothing, which is what homeless veterans often get.

The veterans came to St. Anthony Dining Room on Veterans Day to receive their plastic bags, which also contained a rain poncho, a small box of chocolate, two bags of organic green tea and two packages of K-rations.

In Boston a homeless shelter for Veterans celebrated a name change in honor of Veterans’ Day 2008.

In Knoxville the local ROTC program served a special meal to homeless veterans.

In Washington DC a local mission paid tribute to homeless veterans with a luncheon.

The compassionate efforts of each of these community organizations is to be commended in remembering our Veterans on this day that honors all Vets. Unfortuately, most of our homeless veterans spent Veterans Day 2008 on the streets without a home or shelter or a warm meal. For these Veterans there was nothing special about this day that is meant to honor them. For the Veterans who were included in special celebrations the day after Veteran’s Day finds many of them back to the normal survival of being homeless. A warm meal and a goodie pack is a nice gesture but it does nothing to actually honor our homeless Veterans throughout each day of the year with sustainable solutions to end homelessness. I am saddened to see that the  Veteran’s Admistration played no significant role in promoting the causes of homeless Veterans on this day of rememberance.

We have a new President Elect that has voiced it is not acceptable that any of the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our country should become homeless. Only time will tell if this promise will become a reality. In the meanwhile, wouldn’t it be nice if we could honor our homeless veterans everyday by remembering that these men and woman are deserving of our gratitude and respect 365 days a year?  Isn’t the best way to honor all our Vets is to assure that homelessness is simply not acceptable any day of the year?


1 Response to “182. Remembering Veterans 365 Days a Year”

  1. November 13, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    “Unfortuately, most of our homeless veterans spent Veterans Day 2008 on the streets without a home or shelter or a warm meal. For these Veterans there was nothing special about this day that is meant to honor them.”

    That there are indeed so many of our nations’ Vets living on the streets as forgotten and nameless persons, is perhaps the clearest indicator of our decline in moral clarity as a nation.

    Thank you for honoring them with your words.

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