Practicing from the Heart in the age of Technology - All articles and poems are by Reza Ghadimi, unless otherwise noted.
It's Veterans Day. So we salute all veterans.
As a veteran myself, I truly appreciate their service to our country and people. But it is saddening how some of our veterans are treated. In the last twenty years, more than 30,000 active duty personnel and veterans have died by suicide - compared to the 7,057 killed in combat in the same 20 year period. The US is number 22 in the veteran suicide rate in the world - this is appalling and unforgivable.
Throughout history, many nations treated their veterans better than we do today. Persians, Chinese and Romans, for example, had high respect for them. Julius Caesar, for instance, gave land to about 15,000 of his veterans. And it is well known that Emperor Augustus settled more than 300,000 veterans in colonies across the empire. The honorably discharged veterans also received about 3000 to 5000 denarii's depending on their rank. Furthermore, they had certain rights and immunities. They could be a city councilor or serve in their local or regional governments. It seems that our leaders could learn a lesson from the ancients when it comes to caring for our veterans.
Today, many of our veterans are homeless or live below the poverty level. We have the rich spending billions frivolously, like buying a social platform for 44 billion. Just one billion of that could help thousands of veterans out of poverty. There are VA benefits, of course, and I was one of the recipients, but it is hardly enough, these days. Here is an idea; how about interest free mortgages for every veteran who wants to buy his/her first house? How about rent-free dwellings equal to the number of years served, to help them get on their feet in civilian life. Or a guaranteed state or federal government job, or free (really free) education.
There are many ways, our government, organizations, and wealthy citizens can help our veterans further. Let's try!