Returning Troops Need More Than Parades on Veterans Day

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Today is Veterans Day, a day packed with parades and celebrations to honor the veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

With so many veterans coming home to unstable and unfortunate conditions, are these types of celebrations really the best way to honor them?

I want to say right from the start that I respect anybody who served our country in any branch of the military. Numerous members of my family are veterans, including my father. I’m in no way saying that we shouldn’t spend time to honor them.

However, I do feel like these types of celebrations in the form parades are a bit unnecessary. They miss the point of how we should be helping and honoring our veterans. Also, using the occasion as a way to promote your business through sales seems like a disingenuous way to celebrate them.

I always thought the celebrations for Veterans Day to be a huge waste of money that could be better spent on helping the people the holiday is for.

About 11% of the adult homeless population are veterans, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. On top of that, there are on average about 17 veteran suicides per day in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Many veterans returning from service have trouble getting the medical help they deserve. 

While honoring veterans with a parade is a good gesture, I think many of them would rather that money be spent on helping them fix the issues they face when they arrive home.

There are plenty of less expensive ways that vets are honored, such as playing the national anthem before nearly every sporting event. I don’t see how having a parade is any better or more efficient a means of celebrating them.

Furthermore, there is a huge difference between people standing up for a parade and cheering them on and truly making a difference in the way they are treated when they return from service.

You would be hard pressed to find anybody who wouldn’t say that vets deserve to be respected, but there are few of those people that are helping in effective ways. Donating to charities, helping homeless veterans on the street find a place to live and calling your political representatives to ask for legislation that helps support our servicemembers even after their service to our country is complete are all ways that anyone can help.

Deciding to have a parade may be done with good intentions, but it’s little more than an empty gesture if it doesn’t inspire people to get out and help better the lives of veterans.

This Veterans Day, I encourage people to really think about what the celebrations represent and use it as a reminder that we need to do more to help out our veterans than just cheering them on during a parade.

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