Cynthia has penned a beautiful post to honor our veterans that I wanted to share. In a sense, it’s a spiritual followon to my post from Memorial Day this year – What does the Freedom to Crossdress Cost?
Despite the slow progress we see in some parts of the country, we as a community we enjoy tremendous freedoms here in the United States. Freedoms that many of our sisters around the world are denied.
Thank you to all the veterans, for your service and for your sacrifice.
The Sacrifice of the Few to Protect the Freedom of the Many
As Veterans Day in the US comes this Wednesday November 11th, I wanted to write a brief post about the sacrifices our veterans (and those of all peace-loving nations) have made to protect their countries from those who would enslave or harm us. I WANTED it to be brief but found it impossible to be but SO brief so bear with me as it goes a little longer than I originally hoped.
I am the proud descendant of a career Air Force officer who served both enlisted and officer for over 21 years including serving in Vietnam in 1967-68. In addition my mother also served as enlisted and officer until leaving for the medical reasons –of having and raising seven children! Many think about the dangers of military service-the very real possibilities of death not only in combat but in routine training missions. It is a dangerous job! But that only tells half the story.
The other half is the sacrifice made by both the service-members AND their families. Military family life is exponentially more challenging than that most non-military families experience as the military family has all the normal challenges of relationships. But then on top of that are the frequent moves(in some cases like ours approximately every 18 months), the periods of Temporary Duty(TDY) that can run from several weeks to as much as 90-120 days(often with minimal notice) and of course the even greater separations when the service-member is deployed into combat zones. Not only does the spouse (I’ll use “wife” but there are now cases where the husband is the non-military member) who’s left behind has to take care of all the household business and the kids by herself, misses the intimacy of the marital relationship and –oh yeah- the possibility that her spouse might not ever return or might return with severe disabling injuries!
Society unfortunately does not compensate these warriors and their families enough for the sacrifices they make out of a sense of honor and duty. So I think it is incumbent upon each of us to at least take the minimal step of thanking any vets you see for their service and sacrifice and let them know they are NOT forgotten! WE have lost most of the vets who served in World War II due to old age and Korean vets will not be far behind. (See the article at the end of the post).
The other thing that would benefit them greatly is to contribute money (if you are financially able- or time if you can’t afford to spend the money) to organizations that support vets and their families. An example that I want to start supporting with contributions is the Fisher House which provides FREE lodging to the families of vets who return to be treated in VA hospitals in the states for recovery and therapy. These families may spend months hundreds or thousands of miles from home to be with their injured spouse or child and the Fisher Houses allow them to stay on site at VA hospital campuses so they can support their relative as they recuperate. The site if you want more info is at https://www.fisherhouse.org/ A $10 donation covers the cost of providing lodging for one family for one night so even small donations make a difference. Of course there are other organizations that you can support-see the article for a link to a list of worthy causes.
I want to donate in memory of all the vets I have encountered in my life as family or friends. That already large group now includes all of the members here on the site who served proudly in the military. God bless them for making the sacrifices they did so I could live in a free society. I hope that each of you will thank a vet this Wednesday and if you can that you help by donating time or money to help the vets and their families. Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Veterans Day By the Numbers
Tom Purcell | Nov 09, 2015
“I had no idea that many men and women have served our country in our armed forces.”
“Ah, yes, you refer to Veterans Day facts and figures shared by the U.S. Census Bureau. Did you know there are 19.3 million U.S. veterans living today? Roughly half are 65 and older. Nearly 2 million are under the age of 35.”
“That’s interesting stuff. Those older than 65 served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and the 2 million under 35 served mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan after 911?”
“You are correct. According to statistics released by the Department of Veterans Affairs, World War II vets are dying at a rate of approximately 492 a day. This means there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II.”
“The greatest generation!”
“My father served in the Korean War. He is 82. Of the 5.7 million who served during that war, 2 million veterans are still with us.”
“What about the Vietnam War?”
“Of the 8.7 million veterans who served in that horrific war, 7 million are still alive. To round out the numbers, 5.5 million veterans served during the Gulf War era, which spans 1990 to the present. Roughly 4.4 million veterans served during peacetime. Other veterans had it awfully tough.”
“Nearly 63,000 living veterans served during the Vietnam War and both periods of the Gulf War. They served from August 1990 through August 2001 and then from September 2001 and beyond.”
“God bless them for their service.”
“Some of our living veterans served through three wartime periods! Nearly 37,000 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.”
“The makeup of the armed services is changing as our demographics change. Though nearly 80 percent are ‘non-Hispanic white,’ nearly 12 percent are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, 1.5 percent are Asian and nearly 2.5 percent are Native Americans, Alaskans and Hawaiians.”
“What about women who serve?”
“Those numbers are growing, too. There are currently 1.6 million female veterans in our country.”
“We are lucky to still have these men and women with us and the purpose of Veterans Day is to honor all of those who have served. But what about the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country?”
“Did you know that nearly 1 million Americans have died for their country? Approximately 4,500 died during the American revolution.”
“I did not know that. What about our bloody Civil War?”
“Bloody is the right word. Nearly 370,000 Union soldiers and 135,000 Confederate soldiers died during that war. We lost nearly 120,000 veterans in World War I and nearly 405,000 in World War II. The Korean War claimed 34,000 and the Vietnam War 48,000.”
“Those are sobering numbers.”
“If there is any silver lining as far as war goes, it is that our modern war-fighting techniques and medical technologies are resulting in fewer battlefield deaths. Of the 1.5 million who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have suffered approximately 6,500 losses. However, nearly 50,000 were wounded and many of them are still suffering from their disabilities.”
“We need to do more to help our suffering veterans.”
“That is exactly what Veterans Day is about. It is a special day when we honor all of those who have served. It is also a great day to give back.”
“We can volunteer at a local veterans’ organization or provide financial support. CharityWatch.org has a list of legitimate organizations that provide help and resources to disabled veterans. I’m going to donate $50 now.”
“Now that’s the kind of Veterans Day number I prefer!”