Veterans Rights : A Civil Rights Issue BY KATELYN BOERKE

When troops are in service we honor and praise them, but when they leave service and retire, why do we stop? Veterans need help to support their families because post war, many different things may happen, injuries, PTSD leading to depression, self harm and other unhealthy things.

Veterans rights and the civil rights movement are both similar and different in many ways. Blacks wanted overall rights from the United States, while Veterans just want support for their troubles after they served. The similarities between them are similar but, minor. Both blacks and Veterans are trying to gain some sort of power in the society and trying to get some sort of support from the government. They are different, however because blacks are getting all their rights taken away and are fighting for everything they want while Veterans are fighting for support.

Veterans and the civil rights march for equality are similar because they are both restricting the rights of each group, making it hard for them to get a proper job, leading them to debt, unable to provide for their families and necessary things in life. Americans spend about six hundred thirty six billion dollars on the active military today, whether that be the troops or weapons, transportation etc. However, for retired troops, Veterans, we only spend one hundred fifty four billion dollars for twenty one point eight million troops (Jasmine Tucker). It may seem like a lot of money, but it is not nearly enough money to provide for a family of about four or five people. Not sending money on retired troops can lead to family disasters, homelessness, self-harm, drugs and alcohol, meaning that jobs will be harder to find.

For blacks in the Civil Rights Era, it was a bit more extreme, but the same concept of restrictions. All over America there were Jim Crow Laws, putting restrictions on many different things, they were inadequately not hired for jobs because of their race (A Time for Justice). Just because of their skin tone, their job search never had high hopes. Although the ways of which Veterans and blacks could not finding jobs were different, the government would not support them with their fight. Veterans have to deal with their struggles on their own and blacks, sometimes had the government going against them but usually the government was lifeless in the marches.

However, the civil rights march was fighting for overall rights for blacks, equality overall, the Veterans only need major support from the government for their health and therapies that are needed after war times for PTSD and other diagnosis’. For Veterans, they are not supported enough making it hard for them to get the help they need post war. A lot of Veterans turn to drugs, alcohol and self-harm in place of the therapies they cannot afford. In America, Veterans make up seven percent of the population, but account for twenty percent of the suicides each year. In 2012, more US soldiers dies from self-harm than in battle, it was the number one cause of deaths among troops that year (Jaeah Lee; Mother Jones). All of these suicides are a result of the fifty percent of PTSD troops who do not seek treatment because of the expenses of it. Americans need to better support our retired troops who risked so much to protect our country. The two issues are clearly different because black were marching for overall equality for their race but Veterans are committing suicide because of PTSD, lack of money and jobs and no support from the government for therapy.

During the times of Jim Crow Laws and other different restricting laws, blacks were segregated from whites in every way possible. Schools, busses, train cars, bathrooms and water fountain were all segregated. It made it hard for anyone to integrate them into society. These marches were to show how strong they could be if everyone stood together even if they did have some enemies that disagreed with them.

Although the Civil Rights Era is over, you can still do many things to help with the Veteran suicides. One place is Mission 22. Their main three categories they focus on are awareness, war at home memorials and Veteran treatment programs. Obviously awareness is the first step to take when wanting people to help so, Mission 22 has brought awareness to millions of people through the internet, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The war at home memorials are public places where they honor Veterans who died at home, due to mostly suicide. Veterans who served with the people or person being honored, or just want to come, can go there, there is an art hut next to the memorial where Veterans can go to vent about their feelings. The last one, treatment programs, offer amazing services to veterans as well as doctors and treatment facilities across the country. Mission 22 support is a great resource but they are understaffed and underfunded. This program is a way to spread awareness about the common deaths of our troops. By supporting Mission 22, we can protect the troops that protected our country.

Guggenheim, Charles, Julian Bond, Catherine Shields, Michael Bacon, Matt Herron, Clifford Hunter, Flip Schulke, and Dan Weiner. A Time for Justice: America's Civil Rights Movement. , 2011. Internet Resource.

"How Much Do We Spend on Our Nation's Veterans?" National Priorities Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <https://www.nationalpriorities.org/blog/2014/11/11 how-much-do-we-spend-our-nations-veterans/>.

Jaeahjlee. "Charts: Suicide, PTSD and the Psychological Toll on America's Vets." Mother Jones. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.motherjones.com/politics 2013/01/charts-us-veterans-ptsd-war-iraq-afghanistan>.

"Veterans Statistics: PTSD, Depression, TBI, Suicide." Veterans PTSD Statistics | Statistics: Depression, TBI and Suicide. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http:/ www.veteransandptsd.com/PTSD-statistics.html>.

"LANDING PAGE-." Mission 22. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http:// www.mission22.com/#memorial>

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Created with images by Jay Adan - "Veteran" • BuzzFarmers - "Homeless man." • Beverly & Pack - "Aviator receives kisses from his dog for the first time in eight months" • conner395 - "Inverness Burgh Police Special Constabulary (WW2 era) 2 of 3" • WikiImages - "racial segregation racism black"

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