Vietnam Veterans are in an entirely unique position in America. They fought the same as other war vets. They sacrificed and suffered heavier losses than many, and yet, they were treated much differently upon returning home. Additionally, this generation of veterans especially lacked community support for years after their service.
According to GreenDoors.org, homelessness and poverty are significant risks for many of our veterans. They also cite research that names isolation and a lack of community support as the most significant factors in homelessness among veterans returning from war.
Think about this in terms of Vietnam veterans. Those who came home from Korea and WWII were celebrated as heroes, and yet they still felt the isolation that comes with knowing that your friends and family cannot understand what you’ve been through. This feeling of isolation was magnified for many Vietnam vets.
Returning home from war after witnessing unimaginable horrors would not be an easy adjustment for anyone. For these vets, add to the list coming home to be spit on, insulted, and treated as a criminal.
The treatment of Vietnam veterans in America has been inexcusable. The same must be said for the numbers who found themselves without a home and suffering from the invisible scars of war while American life went on around them. There is no excuse for the U.S to look the other way for so long.
Fortunately, attitudes have changed in recent decades and there has been more effort to acknowledge the service of these veterans while improving access to health and community resources. There is always more to do, however. The first step is refusing to turn our backs on those who fought for us.
We are working to create change that will give back to those who gave so much. The Greatest Generation Benefits Act would help change the lives of so many. Americans who struggled and sacrificed during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Learn more and sign our petition here.