Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Veterans Day!

A large portion of my 9-5 consists of assisting Veterans with using their VA Educational benefits to attend college.  Even without the direct daily contact of Veterans, they house a great deal of warmth and respect in my heart. I have family and close friends that have served and are serving in the U.S. military. 

I can hear the line in the Marvin Gaye Song “What’s Going On”, the words simply said: “You see, war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate”. I remember I was so young and small when I heard this song, I didn’t understand what they were singing about; I just knew it made me sad. My mother was listening to it and I remember her telling me what it meant, and as a child it was scary more than anything. 

Fast forward to the present and I listen to this song several times a week. For those that don’t know, Marvin Gaye is a huge inspiration in my writings. I toss in his CD in the mornings and zone out on my way to work. 

This particular song and “Make Me Wanna Holla” captured the very explicit reality of the economy, emotional spirit, and downward effects of the war. Many say that Marvin Gaye expressed himself in a way that was well ahead of his time. People weren’t ready for the truths he let flow across the airways.

Afraid isn’t the emotion I feel anymore when I hear these songs. I am moved beyond emotions when I hear how songs created decades ago can still speak so clearly to the issues in the world NOW. It definitely “make me wanna holla” to ask for an answer to “What’s going on”? 

Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor those that have served and who are continuing to serve to protect our country. While we pay respect and say “Thank you” let’s not forget some hard statistics. 

Did you know?
“Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – VA estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. Only eight percent of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly one-fifth of the homeless population are veterans, (National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, 2010.

Did you also know?
“According to the 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, more than 135,000 adults who served in the armed forces were homeless in a shelter at some point between October 2007 and September 2008, the majority residing in emergency rather than transitional shelters”, (U.S. Department of Veterans Affair, The National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, 2010) .

And were you aware?
“Roughly 56 percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population respectively.
About 1.5 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing”, (National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, 2010).  

As we struggle through our own issues of the current economical hardship we face on a daily, remember those that fight for us, yet may have less or in some case return home to nothing. So if nothing else say thank you, “like” a friend’s Vet related Facebook status update, or Retweet a positive Veterans Day comment on Twitter. Many of these unsung heroes just need to be acknowledged.  Stay encouraged and be blessed! 

Never heard the songs listen below. 

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) Background & Statistics. Retrieved November 11, 2010, from
U.S. Department of Veterans Affair, The National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Retrieved. November 11, 2010, from

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