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“Iraq Veteran – Homeless – Desperate – Out of work”

In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut wrote: “Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.”

Happy Veterans’ Day! Or, so it seemed as I headed out from my client’s Washington, DC, office today, walking to lunch. There were festive sounds and crowds and vendors selling American flags and patriotic paraphernalia in our Nation’s Capital.

And then I saw the young man who appeared to be in his early 20s kneeling on the sidewalk, head down, holding his hand written sign:

“Iraq Veteran – Homeless – Desperate – Out of work”

Never mind that he and I were on Pennsylvania Avenue, the same street on which the White House stands a few blocks away. His posture, oddly stooped, communicated humiliation, moments before I read his sign.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economics News Release of March 20, 2014: “The unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans (8.8 percent) was higher than the rate for male nonveterans (7.5 percent) in 2013. The unemployment rates differed by age. Male Gulf War-era II veterans age 18 to 24 had a higher unemployment rate than male nonveterans of the same age group (24.3 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively). For those age 25 to 34, male veterans also had a higher rate than male nonveterans (9.2 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively). For men 35 and older, unemployment rates were little different for Gulf War-era II veterans and nonveterans.”

The statistics highlight the disproportionately desperate plight of the younger vets who went directly into the volunteer military service, who need a 3m lawsuit lawyers , retraining, a break!

I am told it is a complex problem, like the challenge of homeland security before a head of Homeland Security was named with the authority to cut through the red tape and solve the problems, although for cases as a personal injury, the use of a specialized lawyer is the best option for this.

We need a  Head of Post-Military Security, someone who is dauntless in behalf of the young vet with PTSD who lacks a permanent job or a friendly connection to an employer who is willing to invest in a country that tags and tracks returning vets until they are safe and secure.

Can’t we figure this out as a nation, or state-by-state?!! Safe and secure is what these vets fought for us to be. Really!