Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Didn't want to write Happy Veteran's Day--because it doesn't seem to be the case.

NPR this morning was reporting "Nearly 1 in 8 veterans who left the service in the past decade is unemployed." Specifically "Some 240,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are out of work."

And then this from a published study on homelessness: "Homeless veterans are more likely to die on the streets than non-veterans, a new study revealed."

Yesterday at Cornerstone Community Outreach, the shelter I volunteer at and lead discussion and creative writing groups, there was a HUGE Veteran's Day party. CCO Director Sandy Ramsey said she met an older gentleman at a bus stop and from talking discovered he was a Tuskegee Airmen. I'd seen the movie--though someone told me Denzel was not in that film--must've been thinking about Glory. Anyway, Sandy invited him and any other airmen in the area to the Veteran's Day party at the shelter. She also got a band to play. And of course, there was good food. Ribs and bread pudding, etc. A feast to commemorate the day.

Some VERY old guys walked into the shelter covered with medals. The Tuskegee Airmen was a group of African American pilots who formed a squadron at the beginning of WWII. They ended up fighting several battles at once. From Wiki "The American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subject to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they trained and flew with distinction." They were called the Tuskegee Airmen because they trained at the historically black Tuskegee Institute. Anyway, the program got an unexpected boost when then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt inspected the unit and even flew with them. She pronounced, "Well, you can fly all right."

The shelter was packed. It was a great celebration, but also a wake-up call. So many of those there at the party were struggling. They'd lost jobs, housing, some had lost family support, some were physically and mentally damaged.

Let's pray these wars will end--and that more of our veterans find housing and employment.

More links: http://www.wilsonstation.com/?p=4916

http://www.examiner.com/african-american-in-chicago/uptown-shelter-honors-tuskegee-airman-and-homeless-vets-for-veterans-day

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