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To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise— “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan”—by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans. This is the Department of Veteran Affairs’ mission statement.  Unfortunately, they are failing to keep those promises to many of our brothers and sisters. For them to receive benefits, often seems a daunting task with no end, when they return from combat, and many are unable to acclimate into civilian life and are tossed to the wayside due to politics and bureaucracy, they have too few employees, and too many veterans with too many things to do to fulfill required documentation that we lose too many to the wayside.

We hear about all sorts of people living in tents, but we do nothing to find a solution for the problem of homelessness; we bitch that they clutter up our streets, that they should be working, yet if they request a chance to work, the tortured souls who have lost all-purpose to be human and revert to their animal nature are unceremoniously dismissed then ridiculed and mocked behind their backs as they leave broken even more.

Would it surprise people that at least 38000 of the over 550,000 people that are known to be homeless are our veterans that have been forgotten by a nation that owes them so much? It did me when I first learned about it, these are our brothers and sisters who were discharged, and removed the physical uniform but need our help to take the mental uniform off. The military teaches us very well how to put it on but when the time comes to go home for good and take it off the same training is not available, and not all of us are fully able too, this leads to a loss of self and purpose. This led to a stream of job losses and failed relationships ending with nowhere but the streets to end up.

As they go on day by day and the hunger starts to grow, the animal takes over with only one goal, the once-proud veteran turns to eat out of the garbage and even being filled with shame asking for monetary help to often only be spit on and called names if not being ignored in general. Most people don’t care if they can’t see immediately how it impacts themselves. Though we recorded that fewer and fewer veterans are being recorded as homeless each year this is not so much the good news you may think. Though there is a slight success from HUD and VA programs to assist veterans, most still slip through the cracks, and though the government attempts to place a number on the homeless in this country. They are typically off by as much as 600,000 people that don’t check-in at the places that take the information which would mean the veterans that are living on the streets with no hope left is nearly double as well. With this information, please find a way to help and be a part of the solution, not just another part of the problem.

22 a day is the national average for Veteran suicides. That’s 22 heroes of this country that take their own life. They lose the fight with their inner demons, and as a nation, we could care less about the loss of the men and women who have sacrificed so that others may be at peace. They lose the will to keep fighting because they have no purpose and feel week and trapped in constant darkness that always feels stronger and makes them relive their worst memories. They become isolated and unbound to anything, thinking themselves a burden and seek a release from the pain and suffering they continuously go through. There are organizations to help these men and women, and they do help temporarily, but they treat the symptoms not the core cause, so they are never truly successful in lowering the number of 22 a day.
The first thing we must learn is mental disorders can be overcome and fixed, but you must be willing to struggle alongside those who are suffering from the ailments. This entails long strenuous hours of being always available for them when things go hinky, and at the beginning holding their hand until they are ready to begin starting the real work, some may never get there, however, most will. I am not saying we can save them all, I will never admit that defeat because they deserve no less from us. Rather than to say that you can’t save them all is a coward’s voice, and that of a quitter. I for one refuse to be a quitter when it comes to helping those that are so desperate in need of their brothers and sisters, if I am the only one that will rise to the challenge then so be it, but I know I won’t be.

The poet John Donne in 1624 said: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;” (No Man is an Island John Donne). The sooner we remember that we cannot become our best selves without each other, that we will continually fail if we don’t stop seeing each other as anything more than objects, and stop to help each other, the sooner we can stop repeating history and stop making our fathers and mothers mistakes.

AUTHOR BY: TYRELL MOODY

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VLS is a program designed to help homeless Veterans and at-risk Veterans alike, grow beyond their circumstances. When people feel helpless, and that their lives have no purpose, they are unable to see the many possibilities that are available to them. We will help them see their possibilities. But more than that, we will help them go after and achieve them. Read more…

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