More work to be done for veterans
by Cris Ritchie
Throughout our nation’s history there has always been a thread that holds together our union, and that has been the men and women who serve in our armed forces.
Without a military presence there would have never been a revolution against England that paved the way for our independence. In the 1940s, without our military in place, the axis powers would likely have ridden roughshod over all of Europe and eventually into North America.
In short, our troops make it possible for our union to endure, and it is on days such as Veterans Day that we take time to honor their courage and sacrifice in the face of their own mortality.
So, it is important that as we honor their actions we also work to ensure those sacrifices were not in vein later in their lives. Our veterans deserve more than the honors our words can bring; they need the opportunity for normality once their service to our country is complete.
According to the federal government’s own figures, it is clear that opportunity is not being offered to all.
A study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that of those soldiers who served in the American military following the tragedy on 9/11, more than 12 percent are currently unemployed. That’s well above the national figure for unemployment.
It behooves us all to ensure that our veterans do not volunteer to serve our country for nothing once that service is complete. Lawmakers in Washington last month shot down a jobs plan which also included two provisions to aid veterans in finding work through tax incentives for small businesses. But this particular piece of legislation is symptomatic as to why our nation’s capital is in gridlock, and in this case help for our veterans was the collateral damage.
These two measures were attached to a larger Democratically-backed bill that had little chance of moving through the Republican-controlled Senate. Had they been bills on their own, they may have passed. As it was, politics helped deter two pieces of legislation that may have actually done some good.
Last week we set aside some time to honor the memories of our nation’s veterans. Perhaps our leaders in Washington, D.C. would be better served themselves if they could set aside some time to work for those who continue to enable their freedom. It seems to us to be the least they can do.
– The Hazard Herald
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