Today is Memorial Day—a time to honor and remember the lives of fallen U.S. soldiers. Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of the month of May which commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in military service. Initially, Memorial Day was enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War. After World War I, the decision was made that the holiday would honor Americans who have died in all wars.
Memorial Day is also a time to honor the sacrifices made by living veterans as well. After returning home, many veterans are forced to live under deplorable conditions. A little known fact is the number of homeless veterans in the United States. Under George W. Bush Administration, the number of homeless veterans peaked around three hundred thousand (300,000) on any given night in 2002-03. During Bush’s tenure in the White House, this figure was reduced by approximately half via an increase in supportive programs for veterans.
President Barack Obama understood the importance of continuing the gains to end homelessness for veterans made under the Bush administration. President Obama not only undertook the mission to help America’s homeless veterans but to transformed their lives. By Obama’s directive, and with the continued support of Congress for our nation’s veterans, our nation is now committed to ending veteran homelessness by 2015.
According to the most recent U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Administration count determined that on a single night in January 2009, about seventy-six thousand (76,000) veterans were homeless. This number is down from an estimated two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) reported eight years earlier, according to the annual VA CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) reports.
Who are our nation’s homeless veterans?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly five percent being female. The majority of them are single; come from urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. Roughly fifty-six (56) percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population respectively. About one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans.
Data indicates that America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Approximately half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds of homeless veterans served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.
Much needs to be done to truly honor the lives of our veterans. In my next post, I will write about pending federal legislation that is designed to do just that.
Sources: National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Washington Post. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development. U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development. Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Each year, on May 12th, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, nurses are celebrated on International Nurses Day. This day was established to recognize the contribution nurses make to the health and well-being of our society. Inspired by nurses like Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Fry, the International Council of Nurses started this annual event forty-six (46) years ago. Every year, there is a different theme for the day.
On International Nurses Day, we honor the life-saving abilities of nurses around the world. Whether by putting you at ease while you wait for your doctor or taking your health history, the variety of critical health related services nurses provide is seemingly endless. Every day, nurses take care of countless patients. Each May 12th, we can demonstrate our support and appreciation for nurses world-wide by acknowledging their important work.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Source(s): International Council of Nurses.
Mothers Day 2014 is fast approaching. In the United States, Mother’s Day has been celebrated on the second Sunday of May for almost eighty years. This wildly popular annual holiday seeks to recognize the positive contributions that mothers have made and continue to make in the lives of their children. Not only is Mother’s Day celebrated in the United States, it is also a national holiday in several other countries including but to limited to: Mexico, Canada, South America, Japan, and China.
Every year, children and adults in countless countries seek ways to honor their mother for giving them life, direction, hope, and love. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant. Like dining out, the giving of cards, flowers, and other gifts are also very popular methods for honoring your mother on Mother’s Day.
An emerging trend on Mother’s Day is to give your time or financial support to nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for indigent children, youth, and adults. In this particularly challenging financial period in our nation’s history, nonprofits are called upon to serve an ever increasing number of families in crisis. This Mother’s Day, in honor of your mother, please consider providing much needed support to nonprofits serving indigent children, youth, and families in crisis. Very Happy Mother’s Day!
Sources: Wikipedia. National Restaurant Association.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
In 1988, at the urging of Senator Strom Thurmond and the National Foster Care Association, President Bush signed a proclamation designating May as National Foster Care Awareness Month. When thinking of the month of May, for many it evokes thoughts of spring flowers, rain showers, and Mother’s Day. May and Mother’s Day also reminds some of the increasing number of children in foster care that are in need of the support of a caring adult.
Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to not only raise the visibility of the experiences of the children and youth in the foster care system but also the urgent need for more foster and adoptive parents. Hopefully, this month long awareness campaign encourages citizens from every walk of life to get involved with the life of a child in the foster care system. You should consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent, volunteer, or mentor to a child. Every child deserves a safe, happy, and loving family. Children and youth in the foster care system especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.
For information on what you can do to help the children who are waiting for a foster family contact your local state agency. To obtain information about events being held in your area during National Foster Care Awareness Month, visit National Foster Care Awareness Month website at http://www.fostcaremonth.org.
If you are considering providing a long-term home for an abused or neglected child, you may want to visit several of the adoption websites such as http://www.childwelfare.gov, http://www.adoption.com, and http://www.adoptuskids.org.