Homeless veterans

Published 8:39 pm Friday, March 5, 2010

Today, we have somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 homeless veterans scattered across America. A large number of these men and women are Vietnam veterans.

After experiencing the horrors and destruction of this police action, conflict and completing their military obligations, these brave men and women returned home to receive less than a hero’s welcome. These veterans were called Baby Killers, spat on, degraded and utterly let known that they really weren’t welcomed back into society.

These veterans began to apply for the military benefits that they had been promised, only to be denied and lied to. These benefits had been lost in paperwork, computer systems, and just plain forgotten in this fast-paced society we live in. These veterans lost faith in mankind, our government and in several groups. They literally removed themselves from society to reside in wooded areas, allies, under bridges, anywhere they could to find some sort of peace of mind away from the very people that they had sacrificed so much to protect and defend. This is a terrible tragedy of unprecedented proportions, but without its own set of repercussions.

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Today, recruiters across America are having a very difficult time meeting quotas for our nation’s military forces. This is evident as Congress is already talking about reinstating the draft. We believe that this is due in part because our young people have grown up seeing the way that our nation’s veterans have been and are being treated.

They too have lost faith in our government and what they are being told that their military benefits will be or if they will even be honored. This outlook and attitude must be changed forever. The men and women who make up America’s first response team—police officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, etc.—risk their lives daily to assist others in emergency situations. Sometimes they even receive injuries while performing their duties, which leave them permanently disabled.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, insurance companies will allow one to lose everything that they have worked for before they will settle a claim. An unknown number of these men and women are veterans, National Guards, Reservists, etc. They are all truly among America’s heroes.

The men and women who make up today’s military forces—our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews—answer the call to arms to go anywhere in the world to assist oppressed people, defend our nation’s freedom, and ensure our way of life here at home. As in all wars or conflicts, we always have those who return home permanently disabled.

We will be inviting church youth groups, school classes and Boy and Girl Scout groups out to visit our nation’s heroes. These young people may even learn about God, country, duty, honor, responsibility, respect, integrity, what it really costs to keep America free, and what we will lose if we don’t.

These veterans desire a better quality of life.

All of these brave men and women will be sorely missed, but they will not be forgotten! This is a very dangerous world we live in, all one has to do is look at places like Syria, Iran or North Korea. The leaders of their countries would like nothing better than to see America become weak and unprepared. We must keep our nation’s military forces strong and alert at all times. If we don’t, we may all be forced to learn a foreign language.

Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but I still have a very difficult time with English and I‘ve been speaking it my entire life. If it takes me as long to get as far with a foreign language as it has taken for me to get this far with English… I really don’t think that I will be in this world that long.

Throughout the years, our nation’s military forces have always been there, without fail. Today, we literally have hundreds of thousands of our nation’s veterans who are homeless, and they need us now. The major question remains—Will we now fail them?

May God continue to bless America. Please remember, “All gave some, some gave all.”

Rodney Hudson82nd AirborneU.S. Army