Honor veterans with more than ‘thank you’

We have come a long way as a nation in our attitude toward our military veterans since the Vietnam era. During that deeply unpopular war, when so many back home protested against American military involvement, returning veterans were more likely to get a comment like “Baby Killer!” than a thank you.

Today, thankfully, people will stop people in uniform to shake their hands and give a sincere “Thank you for your service.” We realize that our veterans have volunteered to serve, knowing full well that service may mean shipping off for one or more tours in a hard-to-define war zone to stand between terrorists and the folks back home. National Guard and Reserve forces know they can be called up for active service as well as regular troops.

Saying “Thank You” is a great way to welcome back the troops who have served, but there is more to be done. There are “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” programs to help returning veterans make the transition back to civilian life. But veterans sometimes find the toughest part of coming back to civilian life is finding a job. We know many employers welcome veterans and value them for their skills and training, but some veterans run into reluctance to hire veterans from employers who don’t want to deal with a potential post-traumatic stress case, or to hire someone who may be called up again.

As we give special thanks to veterans today, let us also work to give them a chance to resume full membership in the civilian workforce.

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