This is the day set aside to remember those we love and acknowledge and appreciate the honorable sacrifices made by those that have served and still serve in our military.
No one understands the magnitude of sacrifices made by those serving for their country better than those that have done so.
There is another special group who can witness to the selfless acts made by these distinguished men and women.
Spouses, children, parents and siblings.
The family members of active military or veterans probably could never comprehend the battle ground affects that warfare has on their loved one, but unfortunately they are aware of the long-term effects.
Today, many ceremonies are occurring around our nation. Communities are gathering for parades. Businesses are giving discounts or even complimentary products or services.
Today, on Veterans Day, veterans are to feel valued and extremely appreciated for their contributions to protecting our country and fighting for our freedom.
But what about tomorrow?
What about everyday living for our veterans?
One would think that after dedicating his or her life to military service and subjecting their families to many intervals of separation that upon returning to civilian life they can receive the basic essentials of life and respect.
In reality, they have to deal with issues of inadequate health care, displacement and even disrespect from fellow Americans.
When veterans return home, their lives are not the same because they are not the same. Yes, every experience and case are different. Family members witness the struggles that their loved ones have in adjusting mentally, emotionally and sometimes even physically due to injuries.
When advocating for mental health, it is definitely necessary to have a conversation about the effects that mental illnesses have on veterans.
Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder or PTSD is “a disorder that develops in some people who have seen or lived through a shocking, scary, or dangerous event” (NIMH). PTSD is very common in veterans and active military. Some cases are acute and others are chronic. In either case, the effects are life changing.
Veterans dealing with PTSD need to return to a welcoming and encouraging environment. This is the atmosphere that their families and friends attempt to prepare and maintain for them. Accomplishing this challenge can be quite difficult.
It is more difficult to accomplish when faced with unnecessary barriers.
There are ways that veterans can be honored every day.
Honor with Respect
On day like Veterans Day, it can appear that everyone appreciates and understands the sacrifices made by veterans and respect them. But not everyone. Everyone deserves to have their dignity and be respected. Can you imagine nearly losing your life for someone and to have the very person walk by you with a look of disgust or engage in conversations with others about you as if you aren’t present? Think about how many veterans you pass by on the street in a given week that are homeless.
Honor with Support
Veterans need support. Whether it is emotional, financial or resources. Do not underestimated the information you have that could help a military family. There are many charitable organizations that offer assistance to veterans, as well as, active military. If you are a family member or friend of someone dealing with PTSD, it can be very difficult for you watching them go through their instability; especially, if you have no idea how to help them. Your support, not leaving them alone means a lot. Help them connect with those who can help them and you.
Let veterans continue to be honored everyday by not forgetting the sacrifices that they have made and that they live with. Let us respect and support them everyday of the year and not just on one or two.