Every day should be Veterans Day, and we’re far from that right now

Published 11:32 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

number of events on Friday honored our Warren County-Vicksburg veterans. ROTC students served lunch to veterans, who were also honored at a parade, luncheon at the convention center and ceremony at our city’s rose garden.

Students at Sherman Avenue Elementary honored veterans Friday, and we’re sure other schools did, too.

The day here culminated with a “Hang with a Vet” party at the Tyner-Ford American Legion Post.

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We hope our veterans felt loved and appreciated. They should feel that every day, but they don’t.

Unfortunately for many veterans, when their military service ends, that’s when their troubles begin. And that’s a national shame.

Too many veterans are homeless, even here in our community. Too many veterans return home from active duty and can’t find employment. Too many veterans need urgent medical and mental health care, but they are made to wait, often so long it’s too late. The suicide rate among U.S. veterans is nauseatingly high.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a study of suicides from 1999 to 2010 showed roughly 22 veterans died by suicide each day.

That number is staggering, and it tells us we need to do more — much more — for our nation’s heroes.

Our veterans put their lives on hold in order to defend our nation and ensure the freedoms we in this country enjoy daily. The least we can do is urge Congress to take a comprehensive look at benefits available to our nation’s veterans and their families. That package should include health care and mental health care sufficient to meet their needs. And, if receiving that care at Veterans Administration health and mental health care facilities isn’t available, veterans should be able to seek that care at private facilities and the VA should pick up the tab.

Our returning veterans who lost their job because of their service to our country should be given job training and assistance until new employment is found. The same goes for housing assistance.

If we can’t take care of our nation’s veterans, who served our country on our behalf, what is it that we hold sacred?

Our veterans deserve the best we can give. They are getting nothing close to that from us now.