"Veterans are not a charity, we're an investment." -Paul Reichkhoff
But I need to start this post with an example: USMC 0311 Rifleman, Roberto Pena. He recently decided to return to Iraq to fight ISIS. The NBC affiliate in San Diego did a piece on him, which you can watch here.
What a terrifying position to be in. For both Pena and his wife.
But who hears "please hold", stateside? Our combat veterans. Like Pena. I know that from years of first-hand experience waiting on hold on behalf of a combat veteran.
I'm not a hawk. I'm not naive about the military industrial complex. I'm an American. A divorced single mom. An educated, empowered woman. A Jew. My existence is obnoxious to ISIS. They are rich. They're ruthless.
Yet I am free and safe right now. I can say and do what I want. I'm not being stoned. Not sweltering and invisible under black sheets. Not disappeared.
Why not? What stands between me and a gang of globe-trotting, heavily armed psychopaths?
Marines. Airmen. Soldiers. Sailors. Coasties. Rough men and women who are suffering on my behalf. Killing on my behalf.
Freedom feels is more expensive now than at any time before in my life.
What can I do? I can hire combat veterans. That's a start. I can teach my kids to admire veterans. That's a start. I can speak up today. To say, based on years of first-hand experience waiting on hold on behalf of a combat veteran, that we are not protecting them. That we give far less than value received.
What do veterans want?
Generalizing seems absurd, but here's how veteran Paul Reichkoff answers that question:
"Promote good policies. Listen to our community. Donate your time and money. Or walk on down to the recruiting office and enlist."