Monday is Veterans Day, a day where we pause to give thanks to those who have served our country. It's a day off for some, a shopping day for others, and a day of solemn remembrance for families of those who've made the ultimate sacrifice.
Veterans deserve a day to be honored; but they deserve more than salutes and speeches. To truly honor our veterans, we need to make sure they're taken care of after their service has ended.
With the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of veterans suffering with PTSD has risen to alarming rates; as have statistics regarding veterans and active duty service members' deaths by suicide. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, some 20 veterans and active duty service members take their own lives every day.
Our government spends billions of dollars on war, so it seems fitting it should also fund programs that meet veterans needs' when their service ends. In recent years, some strides have been made in this regard, particularly when it comes to the VA health system. Still, more can be done.
Locally, Veterans Affairs Director Ed Ronders does an outstanding job of bringing useful programs and information to the table for area veterans. It is evident he pours his heart and soul into a job that he dedicates himself to each and every day. And the youth-created Veterans Esteem Team (VET) has continued to follow its mission of making sure no area veteran feels unappreciated or forgotten. It is our hope that the local efforts will spread throughout the state and country, so our veterans are truly honored with the best care and resources available.