Today is Veteran’s day in the United States, a day meant to remember those who have fallen in combat and to thank those who have served and who are currently serving. While the day is a somber occasion for many people it has also brought an interesting dilemma to the forefront, our nation’s veterans groups are witnessing dwindling numbers.
According to Patch.com:
Last year, there were 1,445,550 VFW members in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and 19 foreign countries. As of Sunday, there were 1,190,214, down nearly 18 percent.
The number has baffled some veteran’s who have watched as younger soldiers come home from Afghanistan and Iraq but then choose not to enroll in veteran’s based programs.
As soldiers skirt the option to join their local veterans groups many older members have become concerned that those young soldiers are not receiving the support they need after going into battle and then returning to a regular routine.
Speaking to Patch Phil Smith, the post commander for the American Legion Dearborn Post 364 says of his group:
“I think young people have a lot to deal with when they come home; there’s work or trying to find work, and they often have young families,” he said. “But it can be a great help to talk to others about your experiences.”
One reason largely seen for the discrepancy in numbers is the fact that a lot more people fought in World War II (15 million) and they are now dying off at a rate of 1,000 each day according to a 2008 estimate, if that number holds true there are simply more veteran’s passing on then signing up which would undoubtedly push down membership numbers. Today’s military makes up less than 1% of the United States population.
A general consensus has also revealed that younger soldiers simply don’t want to join a group with an age divide that spans from today’s soldiers back to soldiers of the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Do you think it’s important for returning soldiers to join veteran’s group that can offer them the unique support of soldiers who have likely been through the type of situations they witnessed during combat?
In any case or thoughts remaining with all veterans of foreign wars as Veteran’s Day observes their contributions and sacrifices to society.