By Military Connection Staff Writer Joe Silva.
The Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism volunteered to serve in our nation’s military at a time when deployment to combat was almost certain. Many of today’s Veterans were deployed and saw combat. But whether they deployed or not, whether they fired a shot or not, today’s Veterans knew that they were signing up in a time of war. Despite putting their lives on the line during combat, today’s Veterans have sacrificed more than most people will ever know.
Military Veterans willingly said good-bye to their families, their friends and everything familiar to them. They subjected themselves to unpopular hairstyles, maintaining a sometimes rigorous physical training regiment, and to following orders and commands from anyone who outranked them. In many instances, those who have served have sacrificed their lives, many their health, and many their marriages. Many have seen the effects of deployment on their children..
There are numerous reasons why enlistees join the U.S. armed forces. Some enlist in order to reap the education benefits, some want to fulfill their dream of wearing the uniform, and others want to provide for their families. But every individual reason amounts to the same universal desire– to create a better life for themselves and their family.
Many of today’s Veterans are disappointed at their fates when they get out. Those who were expecting their military service to be a pathway to a better life are finding civilian life to be a bumpy road.
The national unemployment for today’s Veterans consistently remains around 10% (Currently, it is at 9.9%). Half of the unemployed Veterans have not found employment since separating. One third of unemployed Veterans have been unemployed for more than a year. More than 10% of unemployed Global War on Terrorism Vets have been unemployed for more than two years.
There are many reasons that factor into the high level of Veteran unemployment: the struggling economy, service-related injuries and ailments, lack of understanding of military work experience by employers. But the bottom line is that these unemployment numbers for today’s Veterans are unacceptable.
As a country, we have got to do better a job of recognizing Veterans’ service in the workplace. These brave men and women sacrificed so much of themselves in support of the American way of life that they deserve the chance to fulfill the dreams that they sacrificed for.
If you are in the position to hire, please consider hiring Veterans first. If you are a consumer, only patronize businesses and buy products from companies who make hiring Veterans a priority.
As a nation, if Americans came together to truly support the troops, we could see the Veteran unemployment rate go down. And we could help American heroes finally attain the dream…lives that they sacrificed for.