Veterans Day is a time when we express our gratitude to the brave men and women who have served our country, but let us not forget that words, though heartfelt, are not enough.
Today, our gratitude must go beyond patriotic parades and social media shout-outs. It must translate into tangible actions that improve the lives of those who have given so much for our freedom.
There are over 18 million veterans in the United States today. Their service spans from World War II to the ongoing global war on terrorism. Each of them has put their life on the line for our liberty, and yet, in return, we are failing to provide them with the services they desperately need and duly deserve.
As a country, we must do better. It is time for Congress to prioritize the well-being of our veterans, and that begins with improved healthcare.
Veterans face unique health challenges compared to the civilian population. They are more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and physical disabilities. Yet, they often struggle to access high-quality, timely healthcare. Our veterans deserve a healthcare system that is equipped to address their unique needs, one that prioritizes their physical and mental health.
The mental health of our veterans is a crisis that cannot be ignored. Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military. To combat this, Congress must invest in comprehensive mental health services and suicide prevention efforts.
Housing is another critical area where we need to do more. It's a national disgrace that on any given night, thousands of veterans are homeless. Solving homelessness among veterans is not an insurmountable task. We have the resources, we just need the will.
Congress must also address the issue of toxic exposure. Many veterans have been exposed to harmful substances during their service, leading to serious, sometimes fatal, health issues. We owe it to them to improve research, recognition, and treatment of conditions related to toxic exposure.
This Veterans Day, let us change the narrative. Let our gratitude not simply be expressed in words, but be reflected in our actions. It's time for Congress to step up and provide our veterans with the services they need.
There is no better way to thank a veteran than to ensure they have access to quality healthcare, mental health services, secure housing, and help with toxic exposure issues. As a nation, we are defined by how we treat those who have sacrificed for us, and it's high time we honor our veterans with actions that echo louder than words.