“Thank you for your service” is a common statement that our service members hear. Since the patriotic fervor following the events on September 11, 2001, Americans either signed up for service or sent support for our service members. Unfortunately, current service members and veterans are still in need of support. This is partially due to the under representation of veterans among the general population and within Congress.
According to the U.S. Census, our veteran population decreased by 8.4 million from 2000 to 2018. This decline includes World War II veterans, which dropped from 5.7 million to fewer than 500,000. The representation in Congress is the lowest it has been in the last 70 years, only 17 percent in both the Senate and the House are veterans.
That is why our veterans need the assistance of the people that they have sworn to protect more than ever.
How can civilians help our veterans? Simply by invoking their first amendment right in this situation, which is “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Why should civilians be concerned about veteran issues? Other than a love for our country’s defenders, the other reason to be concerned is simply money. The money received from taxes is used for the care and support for our veterans. It is a citizen’s right to be concerned how taxes are spent.
One of the results of providing benefits to better support veterans is that it enriches the community around the veteran.
Just those disability payments alone can help ease financial stress on the veterans and their families; then that money is used on the local economy.
Not only that, VA hospitals and medical centers employ the local economy, assist homeless veterans, and relieve stress on the local civilian health care network.
What veterans need most is to have their issues communicated to those in Congress. These issues may include homelessness, deported veterans, sexual harassment and assault, mental health, proper healthcare, unemployment, or toxic exposure to chemicals, such as agent orange, radiation, burn pits, and tainted water from Camp Lejeune, Anniston, or heat- and sun-exposed bottled water.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of congressional bills that are introduced in every congressional session that cover these subjects. Many of these bills fail to pass due to lack of attention or support.
So, what’s the next step? First, familiarize yourself with your Congress people and then the congressional bills that are introduced.
The quickest way to communicate your message is over the phone; email is good, but it can take a while to process and receive a reply. If you need assistance in this aspect, go to [https://vetslegislativevoice.org].