Is the United States allocating enough resources for veterans?

Paul Yoon, Staff Writer


Credit–Empresa Journal

What if you were to risk your life to serve your country? How would you expect to be treated when you returned home? United States veterans today do not receive the proper benefits and help they deserve and need. Thousands of veterans suffer from mental illnesses and the help they need. In addition to this, veterans trying to readjust to civilian life struggle to find new jobs as they are not readily available to them. Although many benefits and support groups exist for veterans today, it is not enough. It is simple, more needs to be done to help them.

One of the prominent problems that veterans face when returning home is PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which is the Survivor’s Guilt they face. This has been an enormous issue even dating back to the Korean War. Raymond, a Korean War veteran, continues to struggle with his PTSD and even breaks down in tears while talking about it. While serving in war-ridden foreign countries, soldiers must be on high alert all the time. They must always be ready to respond quickly to any situation and this builds a “fight or flight” behavior that remains with veterans even when they return home. According to Brandon, a US marine who served in Afghanistan, his PTSD causes him to have violent and erratic reactions. Because of this, many veterans become alcohol dependent. Many veterans are unable to deal with the loss of their fallen brethren and since there is a lack of psychiatrists to help, they do not know how to cope with it.  This is evident when an unnamed soldier shared his story and how the constant guilt and pain led him to become an alcoholic. More support groups need to be made, more psychiatrists need to be hired, and there should be an effort to reach out to veterans.

Many veterans today also face the problem of readjusting into society.  According to a group of veterans interviewed by Al Jazeera, readjusting was the hardest part of the whole experience. The life of a soldier and the life of a normal citizen are so different. Soldiers are always given tasks that they must focus on and complete. Because of this, soldiers must detach themselves from the people around them and put all their attention into completing their missions. When coming back into society, many veterans find it difficult to find their place in the world. In addition, it is extremely difficult for them to find jobs when coming out of the military.  In the same interview, one veteran said she applied to 800 jobs and only received a call back from one. This is a huge problem and that is why in 2010, 13% of the homeless population were veterans. More needs to be done to help veterans transition back into civilian life.

Even though awareness has been raised for veteran’s issues, not enough is being done for them. Veterans do not receive enough praise and thanks for everything they have done. Most people would not leave their families, travel to a foreign country, and risk their lives every day.  Most people can not fathom watching their closest friends die in front of them. It is important that veterans receive proper recognition and the help they deserve. The United States needs to allocate more resources towards helping their soldiers who have returned home.