Veterans - A Real Way to Honor
Wade into Fitness and our family continue to do everything we can to support our active and retired military. We give a series of 5 free classes to new students who are military or military family as our way of saying thank you! We continue to volunteer to help active military families. I am also certified in YogaFit for Warriors. Beyond being personally familiar with the many needs of veterans, this training helps me be sensitive to structuring yoga classes which help heal our veterans.
As a Marine Corps family for over 24 years of active duty, my family is very personally impacted by Veteran's issues and see their deep impact upon all of our greater military family. I would like to take this moment for a veterans' issue near and dear to my heart.
We are small but mighty in commitment...
* Less than 7% of the US population has ever served in the military.
* Less than 2% of the US population is currently on active duty.
* Less than 1% of the US population is able or willing to serve a full military career of 20+ years to reach retirement eligibility.
Why are there so few and proud?
* A 24/7 lifestyle where by necessity of the mission, the family and self come second.
* Moves and deployments constantly disrupt spouse and children's stability with regard to social support, job continuity, schools and more.
* Danger of losing life and limb.
With factors like these unique to the military and pay and benefits below civilian equivalents; serving is a decision of a passion to serve, commitment, and the willingness of an entire family to serve as well - including the possibility of paying the ultimate price - death. Death is not usually a civilian consideration for employment and yet, veterans are often lumped in with Federal employees when cuts are considered, yet not when extra perks and protections for Federal and civilian employees are proposed.
As a veteran family, we have noticed something that greatly disturbs us and other military families. Congressional leaders often cutting benefits promised to veterans, after the fact of their service and keeping their side of a dangerous and costly bargain. These cuts are often under the radar scope of the American public, lost in rhetoric, or last minute backroom deals over the holidays when the American public is distracted. They equate to throwing veterans, who have no union or substantial lobby to protect themselves, under the bus and going back on their promises when it was convenient to promise them support and send them to the front lines. The subtle slicing out of promised benefits - from cost shares for healthcare and fair medical access, to commissary costs (military grocery stores), or even cost of living adjustments being often below civilians is a grave insult to those who have served. Asking a tiny percentage of the US population who was willing to serve to bear the burden to cover bloated spending and entitlements to those who have not shown an equal willingness to serve this country is a national embarrassment and betrayal. (Be warned, in recent years, and I believe by intent, much of this type and other disgraceful legislation has been getting surreptitiously passed just before the Christmas holiday, when the American public is the most distracted.)
Perhaps this is occurring because less than 16-18% of the current Congress has ever served in the military and of those, most did not serve a full active duty career. Perhaps it's because "we the people" are no longer familiar with less than 7% having served. Or perhaps, we let ourselves be too busy to email our elected officials for those who don't have a voice - US active duty personnel are not allowed to voice political opinions publicly. Or perhaps, it's because we let numbers on the "cost of military spending" into which special interests roll the cost of a far greater number of civilian, federal employees than actual war fighters and the cost of astronomically expensive government contractor costs for programs to fool us into thinking this money is going to those war fighters. If only the percentage of the "military budget" that goes to actual war fighters and veterans was separated out most of us would be shocked and ashamed that we let political lobbies and special interest roll themselves up with the military war fighters.
Over the past 25 years nearly every congressional delegation has had fewer veterans than the previous group. Combined with the fact that military are not allowed a union to fight for them, the only one who can fight for those who have fought for you is - you, the American public. Believe me, every voice makes a difference and this will be an ongoing issue.
You can make a difference for veterans. Add your voice along with theirs whether you served or not. There are organizations out there fighting the good fight and making it easier for you to add your voice and thanks in seconds in a concrete way like the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) which easily lets you find your elected officials and add your voice to pending legislation which hurts active and retired military click here. Others you can join or add your voice with include the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and The American Legion. For a more complete list of veterans organizations click here.
Graphic information source- http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/by-the-numbers-veterans-in-congress/