On this Memorial Day, the nation celebrates the sacrifice of veterans who gave their lives in service to our country. A “by-the-numbers” analysis by the Center for American Progress notes that veterans “are still in need of services to improve their quality of life—before, during, and after deployments. This year, the need is even more urgent than ever as the economic crisis hits many veterans and their families hard and these Americans struggle to find jobs, pay their mortgages, and get back on their feet.” Some key stats:
— 338,000 or almost one in five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are experiencing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, or major depression as of January 2009.
— Yet only 53 percent suffering from PTSD or major depression have seen a physician or mental health provider.
— 154,000 veterans were homeless on any given night in 2007, and 300,000 were homeless at some point during that year.
— One-third of homeless Americans are veterans, even though only one-tenth of all adults are veterans.
— Foreclosure rates in military towns were increasing at four times the national average in last year.
In his weekly address, President Obama said, “Our fighting men and women – and the military families who love them – embody what is best in America. And we have a responsibility to serve all of them as well as they serve all of us. And yet, all too often in recent years and decades, we, as a nation, have failed to live up to that responsibility. We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve.”
“That is a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear – and all who have worn – the proud uniform of our country,” Obama added. “And that is a sacred trust I am committed to keeping as President of the United States.” Watch it: