People who serve in the military often find it very difficult to reintegrate into society. Organizations such as Meredith Iler’s Helping a Hero try to provide veterans with help to improve this, but there is only so much they can do. One of the key reasons for this is because veterans fear the bureaucratic headaches they will inevitably face.
Do People Care about Veterans?
Time and time again, there has been a public outcry to look after veterans after a war. However, once the memory of the war is removed from people’s minds, so is their care for the veterans, who continue to relive their traumatic experience. Unfortunately, veterans therefore only have a small bubble in which they can get the support they need. Some organizations, like Helping a Hero, are different, fighting for constant recognition of veterans, but they are tackling a very big problem.
The Problem with Veterans’ Healthcare
There has been a lot of controversy recently over a sudden need for many veterans to access healthcare. The reason for this is that so few understand that many veterans don’t need specialized care until many years after their combat ended. And, again, it means that the general public no longer truly cares. However, people are taking note. In fact, there have been threats made of legal action being taken against the VA (Veterans Administration) and other federal departments that are failing those who served their country.
People seem to forget that organizations like the VA don’t only look after those who have recently come back from Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, the VA recently reported that one of the people they care for is a dependent of a Civil War soldier. They also look after WWII veterans, and even Spanish-American War dependents.
Unfortunately, it seems as if America constantly faces another crisis, and this diverts public attention. Today, everybody cares about soldiers affected by the conflicts in the Middle East. But they forget about the thousands of veterans from the Vietnam War, who continue to need support. People like Meredith Iler fight tirelessly to create legislation, develop programs, and educate the public. One of the things they want to educate the public about is that the harsh reality of being a veteran is that, upon discharge, all they get is their papers and a handshake, after which they are on their own.
It is difficult for a veteran to become a civilian again. Like prisoners, they are institutionalized, used to living by certain rules. But mostly, it is difficult for them to adjust to the way society works – in isolation. These are all things that have to be recognized by public officials and the public alike and, mostly, it must be understood that these problems do not go away simply because the country has launched itself into yet another conflict. These are long-lasting problems that can go on for many more decades. Veterans have earned the right to receive that support for as long as they need it.