Veterans’ Day: So that We Remember

“On this Veterans Day, when we’re waving our flags — I need every New Yorker to know — 40 percent of New York City veterans are relying on soup kitchens and pantries. That is not a guesstimate; that is a fact.” ~ Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City

Some things to think about this November 11:

  • Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide, and the number is continuing to rise (moreover, active-duty soldiers are also seeing a dramatic increase in suicide rates).
  • Currently, 12 percent of recent veterans are living in poverty. Indeed, around 900,000 veterans live in households that rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a.k.a food stamps).
  • Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have nearly double the poverty rate of those from previous wars. Young vets are the hardest hit: 21 percent of service men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 (who make up 80 percent of recent veterans) are poor

Reblogged from Eupraxsophy:

                   

The Parade

How exhilarating it was to march
along the great boulevards
in the sunflash of trumpets
and under all the waving flags–
the flag of desire, the flag of ambition.

So many of us streaming along–
all of humanity, really–
moving in perfect sync,
yet each lost in the room of a private dream.

How stimulating the scenery of the world,
the rows of roadside trees,
the huge blue sheet of the sky.

How endless it seemed until we veered
off the broad turnpike
into a pasture of high grass,
heading toward the dizzying cliffs of mortality.

Generation after generation,
we shoulder forward
under the play of clouds
until we high-step off the sharp lip into space.

So I should not have to remind you
that little time is given here
to rest on a wayside bench,
to stop and bend to the wildflowers,
or to study a bird on a branch–

not when the young
keep shoving from behind,
not when the old are tugging us forward,
pulling on our arms with all their feeble strength.

~ Billy Collins

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