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  • Writer's pictureBill Stauffer

Veterans Day Post

“For soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, coming home is more lethal than being in combat. From the invasion of Afghanistan to the summer of 2009, the US military lost 761 soldiers in combat in that country. Compare that to the 817 who took their own lives over the same period, and this number does account for deaths related to violence, high-risk behaviors, and addiction.” ― Brené Brown,

Today is veteran’s day, a day to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation. I never served. I have had the honor to meet and work with many vets who have experienced addiction, trauma and loss as a result of their service to our nation. I have had things shared with me that few civilians hear and hold and support them in the healing of those scars that I can barely understand. This can be part of the price they pay for serving us and often they serve a nation that does not understand them, what we ask them to do and the price they all too often pay. Their families also sacrifice and go through hardships in the name of our country.

I have also met many vets who brought home from service their deep love of country and got involved in service to their communities. They help other vets, do volunteer work and become civically engaged. Our vets represent some of our nations very highest ideals and they are part of the very fabric of our communities, often hidden from view yet continuing to serve us.

One thing I can tell you is that we do not do near enough for the vets who sign a blank check and go off to protect and serve our nation as directed by our government.

There is a two-way implicit agreement between our nation and the men and women who serve in our armed forces. They do all of this for us, and we are supposed to seek to understand them, support them when they need our help upon returning home and most importantly to ask them to go into combat only when all other avenues have been exhausted and to have clear missions and exit strategies to bring them home.

So today, I thank our vets. You deserve our deepest gratitude. I am sorry that we as a nation have done a poor job at holding up our end of the agreement. We must do better for our vets, not just today but every day.

The picture is one I took of the Waterman monument, in Valley Forge PA. This 50 foot granite obelisk was erected in 1901 by the Daughters of the Revolution. It marks the site of the only identified grave at Valley Forge, that of Lieutenant John Waterman of Rhode Island, who died on April 23, 1778 in service to our nation.

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