Among those who did return and the family members of all who served, I see too much addiction and pain. That personal human suffering is an unacceptable legacy to those who died in service to their nation.
When published suicide statistics reached 22 veterans a day, Frank Spady said "Enough!" A decorated Vietnam combat Airborne ranger, Spady realized that vets in crisis couldn't wait for the VA or Congress to fix the system to address their needs. The problem didn't need more discussion, it needed action and that's something Spady knows about.
There are reasons to be optimistic about a vote in Congress that didn't go our way.
With all of this talk of privatization ramping up, now is the time for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats to knock the idea down. Veterans will be watching.
Today, the United States is home to more than 21 million veterans. Their service should never be forgotten, least of all when they're in need of care. While the progress achieved by the VA's revised rule and legislation like the Clay Hunt SAV Act takes an important step forward reforming access to care for our veterans, our work is far from over.
It occurred to us at VoteVets.org that there will be a lot of statements from conservative candidates for president that range from "fudged" to "completely wrong." Most of these statements are easy to predict. So, as a public service, here's a cheat sheet for you, so when you hear those statements, you know why they're just not right.
When we see people as heroes, we don't leave enough space for them to struggle as all people do at times in their lives. When we see people as head-cases, we don't leave enough space for them to demonstrate their strengths, courage, and creativity.
While programs in greater Los Angeles have housed thousands, the economic downturn all but obliterated those gains. The inexorable gentrification of the city puts pressure on the few areas where the homeless gather.
Nobody expects Bill O'Reilly to tell the truth; it wasn't part of his job description but it was part of Bob McDonald's.
Movies, said film critic Roger Ebert, are like an "empathy machine." Their mission: to help us understand a bit more about others' hopes, their fears, their dreams. Movies allow us to walk in others' shoes. They help us "identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us."
A bill aimed at reducing military and veteran suicides and improving their access to quality mental health care that was doggedly opposed and blocked by a lone, "support-the-troops" senator was finally signed into law by President Obama on Thursday.
If Americans utilized the outrage over American Sniper, the Brian Williams saga, and Kanye West rushing the stage at the Grammys, and aimed this vitriol at President Obama's request for a new war, we could possibly avert yet another colossal mistake.
A casual observer might have thought last week that the problem of thousands of homeless veterans living on the streets of Los Angeles was just about behind us.
By all means, the VA is failing American veterans terribly, with wholesale claim denials and scandalous waiting times and a general, contemptuous dismissal of the psychological and physical wounds American vets are coming home with.
Just "moving the herd" is not a solution. I think forty years is long enough to wait for the problem to go away. Let's put that on the top of the list for 2015.
For those of us fighting to end homelessness in America, the year of 2014 gives us hope that strategic ideas and initiatives are actually working, albeit slowly. Here are our top highlights of 2014.