The Pride of Veterans

Many Americans don't know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The former is, "When we remember and honor men and women who died while serving in the military" while the latter is, "When we thank all the men and women who have served in the military during wars and peaceful times" (according to

But this Memorial Day, I'm also thinking about the men and women who died because they served in the military. For many, military service doesn't end when they are discharged. Veterans who have fought on the front lines will never forget what they saw, leading to the potential development of PTSD. Others develop physical diseases, whether it be brain tumors from radiation poisoning, Ischemic Heart Disease from Agent Orange exposure, or Mesothelioma from asbestos inhalation.

Though many of these Veterans are able to co-exist with these diseases for decades, their body may eventually begin to deteriorate at a rapid rate, causing a pre-mature and unexpected death.

A large number of Americans are dissatisfied with the way we care for these people. Citizens point to the difficulty Veterans have transitioning to civilian life, the poor quality of Veterans hospitals, and how we don't seem to appreciate the service of our Veterans, opting to enjoy a day at the beach instead of giving back- not even understanding why we have the day off in the first place.

Veterans are a proud group of people. No matter when they served or which branch they served for, most of our Veterans dust off their uniforms with pride, assuming formation once again and waving to parade viewers with a smile.

And those Veterans who live decades beyond their military years yet pass pre-maturely because of their service- they're proud too.