We’ve all been taught to honor our veterans on Veterans Day, November 11. They served in the military and fought battles the rest of us couldn’t or didn’t know how to fight. They learned a trade and fulfilled a commitment to support the American presence abroad. In many cases they were separated from family; in some cases, they lost friends and colleagues on the battlefield. But when they return to civilian life, as eventually they must, what then?
Getting back on track
A crucial element of successful reintegration after service is experiencing a sense of belonging. Veterans’ organizations such as The Mission Continues aim to help former service members cultivate that essential quality. In this case, it’s done through volunteerism and giving back to the community through teamwork. As The Mission Continues puts it, “We redeploy veterans in their communities, so that their shared legacy will be one of action and service.”
Team Rubicon, another veterans’ organization, has a similar mission. It pairs experienced veterans with first responders to create dynamic, skilled emergency response teams in our communities.
There are other groups out there that aim to help ve-terans feel good about civilian life. They’re run by veterans or concerned Americans who want reintegration to go better both ways. They want to build relationships with potential employers to show that veterans are valuable human resources for their organizations, and they want to help veterans transfer their leadership skills to the civilian sector.
This Veterans Day, let’s celebrate the social power and potential of our veterans, who are an asset to daily life in every community. ■