Veterans Day, honoring those who served

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It is a fine tradition that we take a day each year to honor our veterans that have fought for our freedom throughout the decades and in this day and age we have more living veterans in American history. I am thankful for those especially that take the time to honor these veterans every day with hard work, diligence and respect to those that served. There are many events this week all over East County that are taking the time to honor our heroes that served both during peace, conflicts and war in many ways. As a veteran, this means a lot to me personally.

It is a fine tradition that we take a day each year to honor our veterans that have fought for our freedom throughout the decades and in this day and age we have more living veterans in American history. I am thankful for those especially that take the time to honor these veterans every day with hard work, diligence and respect to those that served. There are many events this week all over East County that are taking the time to honor our heroes that served both during peace, conflicts and war in many ways. As a veteran, this means a lot to me personally. But as we attend the ceremonies, celebrations and special events, take time to say a prayer for the homeless veteran.

We only have a clue of how many homeless there are in our communities, but it is a fact that nearly 25 percent of the homeless are veterans. Tackling the homeless problem is difficult enough, and with the heavy outbreak of hepatitis A it is becoming more problematic as cities and the county are bringing down aggressive steps to gain control. In many of these decisions the homeless are suffering more as they are losing the only places and communities that they call home. It may be in the streets, or in our canyons and riverbeds, but for them it is the only home that they have.

The hepatitis A outbreak has to be stopped and there is no question about that, but when you take something away, there should be something given in return. The majority of our homeless are not there because they choose to be there. There are so many factors that can send a person, or an entire family left to fend for themselves with as little as a car to live in, many with less than that.

East County has done a remarkable job in tackling the homeless problem and understandably there is not an overnight decision that will make all things better for the homeless and our communities. And there are very few people that aren’t one catastrophe away from losing their home and winding up on the streets. That is something that we all need to remember when approaching solutions for the homeless population. Not only are nearly a quarter of these people veterans, the homeless are getting younger every year and coming from all walks of life. It is up to us as a community to help these people in need and not discard them with the stereotypical thinking that they are all drug addicts, thieves and thugs. They are human beings with the same rights that us with homes, families, food on our table every day have and take for granted.

This Veterans Day, think of a way to lend a helping hand to our veterans that right now have nothing more than they can carry on their backs. In any armed services we are taught that we are a team that leaves no one behind and cover each other’s backs regardless of the situation. This mentality needs to be carried over, including our homeless veterans. In the big picture, there are very few people that live up to that code of honor that we proudly claim.

There are basic needs that every human being needs to live life to its fullest, or just survive the life in the place it is in at the moment. A little kindness and forethought can go a long way. So as we take away from our homeless population, try to find a way to give them the essentials that they need. We cannot save them all, but there are many out there that are worth the risk at trying to save and help them to become a viable part of our community.

There are steps that we need to take immediately to get our streets safer and now healthier, but when doing so, see if we can add on to these steps a way for the homeless to have access to clean water, a place to sleep, go to the bathroom, to bathe and food to eat. We can’t just take away these things by removing them or passing ordinances that do not allow them to even help each other.

I have a strong gratitude for those that have served and come back and made our communities a better place to live with all of the hard work they do every single day in helping the veteran community. I have the same gratitude for those veterans that served our country and now have nothing.

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