The parades are over, the banners have come down, and most of us have moved on, satisfied to have thanked veterans for their service on Veterans Day. But veterans do not have that option. Their identity as veterans is a part of them that they carry every day, which is a well-earned source of pride — and sometimes a liability. Veterans come home more likely to suffer from physical and emotional injuries, more likely to experience homelessness, and more likely to die by suicide than the civilian population, and it is our duty to help make them whole.
The COVID-19 pandemic only increased the need for assistance. The veterans’ community was hit disproportionately by the pandemic, with greater proportions of veterans contracting serious cases of the virus and some veteran-heavy industries particularly impacted. These impacts have led to increased housing and food insecurity and have increased the mental health burdens on those already struggling. In light of their sacrifices to our nation, it is particularly important that we provide all the support that our veterans need to safely and successfully reintegrate into their communities.