HOOAH!: Encouragement

Chad Graden
cgraden@css.edu

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Emerson

The Veteran community takes up only about one to two percent of our population; however, at times, it may seem like those numbers are higher. The reason we hear so much news about Veterans, and those who are still serving, is because we have just gone through years and years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Often times, we only hear negative issues: PTSD, veteran suicide, and those who come back home with obvious, devastating injuries. However not all news from our current and past soldiers are bad; there are many reasons to feel good as well.

One aspect that is encouraging is our advancements in medicine in regard to amputees. Our technology has become so efficient that veterans with missing arms and legs are truly getting a second chance at living a normal life. Recently, there have been instances where people are successfully receiving hand transplants. So, if there is a bright side to so many of these types of injuries, it’s our advancements in artificial limbs and transplants.

Another plus side that we are seeing with our returning servicemen and women is the experience they are bringing back into our communities. Many veterans are going back to school, and becoming professionals in areas that struggle with numbers. Social work, teaching, law enforcement, and counseling are careers that have been seeing a rise in interest, mainly because of the number of veterans who are entering that field. In my opinion, a combat veteran who has seen and been through a lot of action would make a really great psychologist. Their experiences with overcoming bad circumstances would really help others to do the same.

Veterans are usually very diverse as well. They serve with all different people who come from all sorts of backgrounds and ethnic groups. In a time of war, it doesn’t matter what color the person is next you, the only thing that matters is that they have your back. Our soldiers go through a lot of required training which deals specifically on this topic, which also includes sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Veterans can bring a lot of good aspects into our communities. We tend to only hear about the few bad things that are caused by veterans and, because of that, we have developed a prejudice towards them. This idea is the same as saying that because of 9/11, all Muslims are bad people. Which, as we all know, isn’t the truth. Another example is saying that all Christians are judgmental. This is also an obvious statement that is untrue.

So the news coming out about the Veteran community should be more encouraging than negative. Good things are happening, and we should be focusing more on that than all the bad stereotypes that are associated with our veterans. We may be a little different, but we are not stupid and we are not all crazy.