Today is Veterans Day and represents a day when we should all take some time out of our day to some how say thank you to the brave men and women who have put their lives on the line (and, unfortunately, sometimes paid the ultimate sacrifice) in order to protect this great nation, its people, and the freedoms guaranteed us by the Constitution.
Korean war veteran Howard Osterkamp once said “We have a motto that sums it all up — ‘All gave some; some gave all.’”. I can think of no better way to encapsulate the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who have fearlessly fought to defend our country; and so in honor of our Armed Services, I would like to reflect on their mottos for those of you who are unfamiliar with them:
United States Marine Corps: Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful)
United States Army: This We’ll Defend
United States Navy: Non Sibi Sed Patriae (Not for Self, but for Country) (I’d also like to add Fair Winds and Following Seas as a thank you)
United States Coast Guard: Semper Paratus (Always Ready)
United States Air Force: Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win
Lastly, I would like to note a few upsetting statistics:
1. At any given time, there are roughly 300,000 homeless veterans; over 1.4 million veterans are at risk of becoming homeless; homeless veterans spend an average of 6 years on the streets; approximately 33% of homeless males in the US are veterans.
2. An estimated 460,000 veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have PTSD, 19% of veterans have Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and 7% of veterans have both PTSD & TBI.
3. Nearly 5,000 veterans commit suicide every year, that’s nearly one every two hours.
The Department of Veterans Affairs only has the means to help a fraction of veterans. It is time that we begin to serve those who have served us. If you would like to get involved with or make a donation to a program that supports veterans, you can either contact the US Department of Veteran Affairs or one of the organizations listed here. I personally make a monthly donation to the Wounded Warrior Project as a way of giving back to those who have given so much for people like you and me…without even knowing or having ever met us, they are willing to put their lives on the line for us.
So please, remember what today is about, and find a way to say thank you to our veterans.