Editorial: Veterans Day

Although Wilton already marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with programs at the schools and a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Green in the town center, it is still worth noting the importance of both the holiday and the sentiment it should foster all year long.

Right now, members of America’s armed forces are deployed around the world, from providing humanitarian aid in the form of equipment and hospital construction in Ebola-ravaged African countries, to participating in field training with Japanese military, to helping stabilize Eastern Europe in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine. And our soldiers are still involved in Iraq.

Too often, we enjoy the comforts of living in the United States without thought to those who make our comfort and freedom possible. Too often, our veterans come home to a country that does not recognize their service and the sacrifices they have made in serving us.

Many are discharged only to discover that finding a job is exceedingly difficult. Their unemployment rate is higher than the general unemployment rate and it is even bleaker for female veterans.

Suicide rates are shockingly high — it is reported that 22 veterans a day kill themselves — and many more have attempted or contemplated taking their lives. The effect on their families is devastating.

The failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs to care for our service members has been well-documented.

Those who would like to do something tangible to give back to veterans may do so through any number of charitable organizations.

Disabled American Veterans (dav.org) offers a variety of services to disabled veterans and their families.

The Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org) offers rehabilitation, activities and career counseling.

Homes for Our Troops (hfotusa.org) recruits volunteers to build homes or adapt existig homes to meet the needs of injured veterans.

Right here in Connecticut, Homes for the Brave (homesforthebrave.org) provides safe housing — with a special home just for female veterans — as well as vocational training, job placement and more.

For those who would like to do something hands-on, engage a veteran in conversation. Listen to the person’s stories. Let veterans know their service means something to you.

And let us thank our educators for the programs they put in place to remind students their freedoms did not come without a cost, and American Legion Post 86 for putting Wilton’s parade and commemoration together so no one forgets.