Each Friday, LA Progressive presents a comment we editors find to be most profound, insightful, or just plain irritating.
This week, Jessica Jackson addresses "Veterans: The War After the War," by LA Progressive Dick Price. Jessica writes:
I wanted to thank you for the article you wrote entitled "Veterans: The War After the War" that posted February 20th. My brother serves in the U.S. Army, but fortunately he has not suffered the fate of other Veterans that all too often end up traumatized and living on the streets. My brother is a drummer in the U.S. Army band, but he's a soldier none the less. He went through the same boot camp, served a year in Iraq, and served his country by doing his military duties as well as providing morale for other troops with his music.
But not all people in the service are so fortunate. My brother Steve had a wife waiting for him when he came home and a job to do when he came back to the states. But for others who aren't fortunate enough to have a loving family waiting for them, or for those who have seen so much horror on their tours that they can't seem to re-adjust to "normal" civilian life, the story doesn't have such a happy ending.
There is so much stigma around mental illness and the homeless, and your article drew attention to this issue. You honor our men and women in the military by bringing awareness to the need for effective job placement and mental health services for those who are returning to civilian life.
We do need to invest our tax dollars in rehabilitation. Providing basic housing for veterans suffering from severe mental illness is the least we can do for the sacrifices they've made. While my brother says there are services available to those coming back from tour, he's not sure if these programs are truly effective or just look better from the surface. There is a definite need to investigate why these existing programs aren't being as effective as we'd like, and what more we can be doing.
I never fully appreciated the sacrifices made by our military men and women before my brother joined the army, and I'm so proud of him and all of our troops who give up a portion of their lives, and even their mental health, to serve our country. Thank you for drawing attention to this important subject.
- Jessica Jackson