Next week, our nation will come together and recognize those who have risked their lives protecting our country. It is a time to reflect on the importance of all the sacrifices made by those who fight to defend the United States of America.
Although they have fought for us, veterans often find themselves returning home to face hardship. These men and women often fall by the wayside, forgotten. We can’t let that continue to happen.
So this Veterans Day, be sure to do your part to thank the brave men and women who have served our country. No gesture is too small when it comes to giving thanks, whether it’s participating in one of our communities’ celebrations, sending a card, letter or care package to a soldier overseas, donating to a veterans service organization or simply reaching out to the veterans in your life to acknowledge their sacrifice.
A lot is asked of the men and women who sign up for the armed forces. Unfortunately, once their service is complete, they often return home to find themselves lacking in opportunity.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, more than 62,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Veterans make up 13 percent of the homeless population, often because of a lack of affordable housing, liveable income, access to healthcare and untreated mental health issues stemming from their time in the service. As much as 35 percent of veterans returning home from Operation Iraqi Freedom will suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to a study by Stanford University. This makes it hard for them to seek employment or even live day-to-day lives, and needed help isn’t always readily available.
But we are a nation that rallies together in times of need, and there are many organizations, such as the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (www.va.gov) who provide resources for veterans in need. Other organizations like Give2TheTroops (www.give2thetroops.org) and Forgotten Soldiers Outreach (www.forgottensoldiers.org) send care packages to those fighting overseas. All of the organizations helping active duty service members and veterans could use your help.
The Royal Palm Beach and Wellington communities will both host Veterans Day celebrations on Monday, Nov. 11.
Wellington kicks things off, partnering with American Legion Chris Reyka Memorial Post 390 to host a parade beginning at 8:15 a.m. at the Wellington Municipal Complex (12300 W. Forest Hill Blvd.) and marching to the Wellington Veterans Memorial, where a ceremony honoring veterans will begin at 8:30 a.m. For more information, call (561) 791-4000.
Royal Palm Beach will hold a candlelight service beginning at 7 p.m. at the Veterans Park Amphitheater on Royal Palm Beach Blvd. There will be refreshments and a musical performance following the ceremony. For more info., call (561) 790-5149.
No matter what you do, be sure to take a moment out of your day Monday to show your appreciation for the veterans in your lives. They didn’t fight for the glory, but we know they’ll appreciate the thanks.