Nearly 70,000 veterans reside in Philadelphia as of the 2020 Census Veterans are greeted so often with “Thank you for your service” that it has become cliché. But those thanks — without the knowledge or passion of knowing what you are being thankful for — is meaningless for those hearing these words. Veterans are a multifaceted population with a distinct culture that includes values, customs, ethos, selfless duty, codes of conduct, implicit patterns of communication, and obedience to command. They also experience mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, suicidal ideation, homelessness, traumatic brain injury, and a multitude of physical ailments at disproportionate rates compared to their civilian counterparts. So: “Thank you for your service” without “Thank you for your sacrifice” is no thanks at all. This is where we as a community can and should make a difference. Veterans and their key support system, their families, experience sacrifice from the time they take their oath “to serve and protect” and leave their families for basic training. The sacrifice continues through their duty assignments and includes following service orders that may involve participating in hazardous activities. Their sacrifice built the backbone of this country, and they have put their lives on hold and at risk to protect it. They answered the call of duty, fought wars, and provided humanitarian [...]
On Memorial Day, many of us will be off from work, spending time with loved ones, but let us not forget what it signifies-- a day of remembrance for those service members who defended our country and paid the ultimate price.