Memorial Day 2013

When I looked down at stamps I purchased from the post office last year, I realized these four stamps succinctly summarized the American experience: Freedom, Liberty, Equality and Justice Forever.

USPS StampsLiving in America is one of the greatest privileges in the world on this Memorial Day like the others that have come before, we must recognize the price of a freedom comes at a high cost. Memorial Day is a federal holiday which falls on the last Monday of each May, origins of the holiday stem from the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who lost their lives during the war. Into the 20th century Memorial Day has been used to honor all Americans who have died while serving our country.

While diplomacy should always be the first course of action, sometime there is no alternative to warfare. In the Afghanistan War 2,226 US soldiers have been killed defending our country from a fundamentalist regime. We are lucky that we are isolated from much of the world’s problems: unrest in the middle-east, brutal dictators in Africa committing genocide, and totalitarian regimes.

It is not our politicians that provide this isolation but it’s our troops that allow us to live the way we do. This is why it is unfortunate that many of soldiers are not getting the help and support they need to re-enter civilian society. According to a study released by the Department of Veterans Affairs which examined suicides from 1999 to 2010 there were 22 deaths a day on average. Posttraumatic stress disorder also affects many veterans who persistently re-experience the traumatic events they encountered on the battle field, overwhelming their ability to cope.  Many veterans have been waiting to get government benefits in the form of compensation, medical benefits, and job assistance. It’s unacceptable our veterans have to wait so long to get help, thankfully veterans and military charities have stepped in to help where they can, but there is still more to be done.

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