To honor and to help

On Veterans Day, there are usually solemn ceremonies to honor Armed Forces veterans and veterans of former and current U.S. wars. Fallen and surviving soldiers must be remembered, as well as those who have returned unharmed or have left behind a part of themselves, physically and emotionally. We must also honor their families, who on a daily basis live the effects of war, the most terrible human activity. More than 1 million of our Latino brothers and sisters currently serve in the Armed Forces.

Recently returned veterans who are part of the so-called Gulf War II generation and have served in armed conflicts since 2001 face special difficulties finding a job after returning. This is due to the country’s high unemployment rate, but also the low educational level many of them have. The lengthy Iraq and Afghanistan Wars required a large recruiting effort, and many soldiers entered the military right after finishing high school.

Many veterans also return home with physical and mental problems, are very likely to experience poverty and have a hard time fitting back into the community.

The White House recently announced measures to help veterans find jobs, including tax credits for businesses hiring them, a job bank and agreements with private companies to set aside a specific number of jobs for veterans. In California, where 2 million veterans live, the government created a special council to coordinate agencies that provide services to veterans, in order to facilitate how former soldiers access available programs and help.

The greatest honor we can give our veterans is helping them integrate into society and lead a life of dignity upon their return.