Keep Remembering and Helping Our Veterans

Where the news of war is commonplace on our TV screens and cellphones, we often see war like some video game someone else is playing. Something that is interesting but far removed from our daily lives, unless you are a veteran or the family member of a veteran. It is critical that we keep remembering and honoring all of our veterans from our past wars and helping those from recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Twenty veterans buckle from the stress of war and kill themselves each day, that is one veteran for every 65 minutes.  According to the National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, it is estimated that post-traumatic stress occurs in 11-20% of the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 10% of veterans of the Gulf War, and 30% of Vietnam veterans. 

In the Iraq and Afghanistan fighting, there have been 6,802 veterans killed in action or in accidents.  For every U.S. soldier killed, seven are injured.  That basically means around 47,614 veterans sitting in wheelchairs, missing limbs or suffering from diminished physical capacity -- a post-traumatic stress that will never end.   And around 77% of veterans returning home have experienced a period of unemployment since returning to civilian life and 27% experience unemployment for than a year 

As a society, we are defined how we help each other and as Americans, we are defined how we remember, honor and help our veterans and families who have given so much for our freedoms.  So as the transfer of power is handed over to the new administration, let's not forget the lasting consequences when we send our young men and daughters off to war and don’t help them re-adjust back to normal society.

On Sunday the 22nd, at 6pm on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for Performing Art, I hope people will take away this message when they see me perform my play The American Soldier, and have a deeper appreciation and admiration for all of our veterans and their families for what they have given for us. 

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Read more on inspiration for The American Soldier atThe Military Timesand Andrews Gazette

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