I was struck by a thought today:
The only way to free someone is by breaking something... or someONE. Breaking ties, relationships, barriers- all can be very freeing.
To free a new DVD from its package, you first need to break the seal that secures it. On the boxes that hold the fire extinguishers in most public buildings is a label that says, 'Break Glass in Case of Emergency'.
The intention isn't to break glass just to be breaking glass or ripping the wrapping paper off your gift and then leaving the box unopened. There is an end goal. The end goal is to release or free something that you need or want.
Whether it is broken glass, torn plastic, or shredded gift wrapping paper- after you get what you need there is a mess to be cleaned up and thrown away. Unfortunately, this is how our veterans have been treated. Like leftover packaging.
As Americans, our freedom comes at a price. Our veterans serve us in ways that we don't often consider. They break from their families (even if just temporarily) to be broken down and rebuilt in boot camp. They will each have their own good and bad experiences while serving that will make a lasting impact on them and on their families. Often, these experiences leave them feeling broken long after their military service has ended.
Veterans are not disposable. Veterans are people. They are not our personal toy soldiers to be broken for our amusement and then thrown away. Veterans are not to be ignored, or pitied, or used to make political statements. They are men and women who deserve respect and support from us and from our government. After serving our country many veterans find it difficult to get the help they need to put the pieces of their lives back together. When they suffer, their families also suffer.
I watched my mother go through many trials and tribulations as a woman veteran. As thousands of veterans do every year, she battled addiction, PTSD from sexual trauma, and homelessness. Often times the red tape of attempting to access assistance from the VA caused her more harm than good. I saw it for myself. I watched the same people who claimed to love veterans turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to her pain.
"The suicide rate among women using VHA services has increased in recent years, from 14.4 per 100,000 in 2001 to 17.3 per 100,000 in 2014". -VA.gov
Our mission at the Walker Family Events Foundation is to "Save Our Veterans". We don't have all the answers for how to fix a broken system and we are not superhero saviors. It takes a village. Our veterans need us. Our veterans need YOU.
Join our mission by volunteering, donating, or spreading the word about our organization. You can also reach out to a Veterans Service Organization near you and find out how to contribute to their cause in support of the veterans in your local community.
Love is a verb. It's time for action.