Valley News - Letter to the Editor September 1, 2021
Presently tremendous energy is being spent in the blame game concerning the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Historians have already begun writing the initial chapters. Although it is extremely important to analyze and dissect these moments in history with the hope of a better future strategy, each of us must take the time right now to recognize the impact of current events on our veterans and active-duty military personnel. The vivid images on every television showing the fall of Saigon had devastating effects on veterans and active military alike. That same scenario is occurring right now as the news from Afghanistan is 24/7. This is a particularly difficult time for those who have served with Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq). Currently, the Veterans Administration is reporting significant increases in call volumes to the VA crisis lines. On a per capita basis, the combined New Hampshire and Vermont veteran population is way above the national average. Most of this is due to the significant number of Reserve and National Guard deployments over the last several years; in fact over the last several weeks, the Vermont National Guard has military deployed to Afghanistan. Not only are these overseas deployments challenging to the men and women in uniform but consider the impact to the families left back home. In addition, a large percentage of those deployed left jobs in small businesses. When deactivated six to twelve months later, there was no job waiting for so many because the national law does not require small businesses under fifty employees to keep a job open for the returning veteran. Our New Hampshire and Vermont veterans have served admirably throughout the long, arduous middle east crisis and their families have endured the significant challenges of several deployments. Let’s take all the time necessary to reach out to our veteran neighbors- show our appreciation, lend a hand if necessary and go the extra step to say thank you that their efforts are deeply appreciated. We are fortunate to have many organizations in New Hampshire and Vermont that can assist veterans with financial and emotional support. Both states have 211 service ready to guide veterans and their families to the right agency. Let’s work with these veterans in need and help them find the support they need to get through the many challenges facing them today.
Patt Taylor Quechee
President Friends of Veterans
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