"I am your Memorial Day Parade;
your fourth of July firecracker
exploding in the grave.
Oh say can you see?
after the ticker tape falls,
will you remember me?"
Excerpt from "Johnny Come Home," Copyright ©2007 Joaquin Rafael Roces III
According to Workforce Management and David Chu (undersecretary of Defense for Personnel) each year 250,000 military personnel leave service, about 150,000 come off active duty and an additional 100,000 Nat'l Guard and Reservists go back to civilian life. In Nov 2007, Dept. of Labor stats noted 22,073 veterans were on unemployment insurance, and 35% of Iraq and Afghan War veterans were homeless. This year, the U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff announced a dramatic rise in those soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, jumping from 30 percent of the wounded population to 65 percent of the population or 8,500 servicemen and servicewomen. CNN reports that last year 165 veterans committed suicide. There are 3.27 million veterans collecting VA disability and 837,000 currently unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Veterans Affairs (May 2011). Between 2010 and 2011, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation has sought to fill positions for Disabled Veteran Outreach, but both times state leaders refused to fund the position. After the parades, and the weekend BBQs, and the endless photo ops, politicians waving flags, using our stumped bodies like some obscene back drop to their 2012 campaign, after the ticker tape falls, Senator, Governor, President, will you remember me?
|Roces served as a Marine Rifleman in the US Marines |
and is a disabled veteran.