Service is the Spirit of Veterans Day

We form a social contract when we send our men and women to war: in return for their their faithful service to the nation at great risk to themselves, we are supposed to assist them when they come home.

Somehow, this has been lost with this generation of vets.  They’re taking care of us, but we’re not taking care of them.  Congress keeps moving to slash budgets for veterans’ programs, vets have had to fight to get PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury taken seriously by military authorities, the military is now losing more troops to suicide than enemy fire, and for-profit schools are preying on vets to trade their New GI Bill benefits for worthless non-accredited degrees.  Some even face hiring prejudice because of worries about how combat has effected their ability to work (newsflash: it hasn’t).  Worse still, the VA–despite being run by distinguished former Army General Eric Shinseki–is completely overwhelmed at best and ineffective at worst.

On this Veterans Day, consider a donation that would serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us:

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America — Provides support, resources, and legislative lobbying for the New Greatest Generation.  The IAVA is an exemplary organization that does everything from hosting job fairs to getting veterans suits for interviews.

The Wounded Warrior Project — Seeks to create a generation of healthy, well-adjusted veterans by assisting them to recover in mind and body, as well as empowering veterans to help each other.

Homes for Our Troops — Builds accessible homes for veterans who have experienced life-changing injuries.  This can also include modifying existing homes.  All this is done at no cost to the veteran.

Warrior Writers — Is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that creates a space where veterans can share their experiences through writing, provide a community based on artistic expression, and bear witness to the lived experiences of warriors.

Call of Duty Endowment — If you’re interested in supporting a video games-linked charity, the Call of Duty Endowment helps veterans find a clear path to employment after their return to civilian life.

The American Widow Project — In addition to the veterans, we must remember the families left behind.  AWP provides support for the new generation of military widows by creating a peer-to-peer network where women can share their stories and help each other heal.

And, of course, in a day that celebrates service we cannot forget that our emergency responders and National Guard are saving lives sas we speak in Staten Island and Rockaway, which are still powerless from Hurricane Sandy.  The American Red Cross has missions in the area bringing people food and water who are unable to leave their apartments.  In addition, Doctors Without Borders has dispatched a mission–their first ever to the United States–and they could really use our help.

A deep and sincere thank you to all our veterans.

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