“Thank you for your service” must be more than just words

Posted on November 11, 2021.

Every Veterans Day, I take extra time to reflect on all of the conversations I've had with the vets in my district. I think about the stories they share with me, about the bonds they forged with others in service to our country, about the courage they've witnessed in the face of fear, and of the sacrifices they and their fellow servicemembers make – every single day.

I reflect on those folks and I'm grateful: for their service, for their strength, and for their selflessness.

But as a nation, we owe so much more than gratitude to our vets. If we're really going to honor our veterans, we must follow their lead, and have the courage to take on some hard truths. For example: in 2018, the suicide rate among veterans was nearly double that of the rest of the population. New data isn't available yet, but in the three years since, we've endured a series of national traumas, including a pandemic, a recession, and an insurrection.

This is an all-hands-on-deck problem.

Earlier this month, I visited The Mental Mediator in Eastampton, a mental health facility and small business run by veterans, for veterans (and, of course, others). The services they offer, and the insight they provide are critical not only for the clients they work with, but in creating models to address the mental health crisis among our vets.

I'm going to tell you what I told them, what I tell every soldier, family, and community on the front lines of this struggle: I will do everything in my power, both inside and outside Congress, to support this work and step up America's commitment to our veterans.

The vets I meet have very different stories and experiences, but they all share one thing: a desire to keep the people of our country safe. We owe them the same. Let's stand with our soldiers, and support the survivors. Let's show them the same dedication to the mission that they've shown us.

Andy

Are you a veteran or do you have someone in your life you'd like our movement to know about today? Head over to Facebook and share your stories.