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Honor the Veterans and their Families

October 31st, 2010

As Veterans’ day approaches on November 11th, our attention turns to the veterans of current conflicts as much as to those who fought for our country in the past.

According to an LA Times report on June 24 of this year, American military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan now exceed 500,000. While the total number of actual deaths are estimated around 5,000, casualties from serious injuries, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, and other mental health problems constitute the vast majority of the half million military cited.

In addition, for every one soldier, it is likely that an average of four family members – spouses, parents and children—have also been drastically affected. They become the survivors – widows and widowers, children without parents, parents without children, lovers without partners, friends without friends. Countless others have given up their jobs, their plans, and often their hopes and dreams for the future to become full-time caregivers for those with physical and mental injuries from which they may never fully recover.

Perhaps Veterans Day should be renamed ‘Veterans and Their Families’ Day to honor all those who make huge sacrifices, not only during the war efforts, but throughout their lives. Families’ lives are transformed by their loss forever. They have to take on new roles and responsibilities. They have to live with their sorrow and find themselves through their grieving.

Honor them all; remember them all; support them all, as fellow citizens and as communities. The legacy of hope accompanies the grieving process. It belongs to them all.