The concerns about homeless veterans, increased incidents of suicide and post-traumatic stress in the military have been thankfully receiving more attention. Post-traumatic stress, acute stress disorder and depression are recurring documented themes that go as far back (and probably farther) as the Civil War. What has changed is our ability to recognize how war has impacted our veterans and their families.
As a family therapist and community member, I challenge all communities to support their veterans, homeless and otherwise. The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the homeless veteran's project in Jewett City is a perfect example of this. I was lucky enough to be witness to this occasion and to be reminded of how many homeless veterans we have in this country. It was mentioned at the ceremony that one-third of those who are homeless are veterans (this information can also be found on the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans).
How shameful. Rural Griswold came together, persevered and created an amazing program for homeless veterans. I have no doubt that if other small communities do the same, we as a country could change those statistics. Lastly, with all veterans, remember to be kind, respectful, humble and appreciative.