As we take time to remember those who have selflessly served our great country, let us remember that there are still so many who are here with us today that we can honor, not simply in words, but in deeds as well.
Recently, I was reminded that there are so many men and women who have put their lives on hold to defend our freedom and protect our way of life. The rewards are few and far between from a monetary standpoint and many times these heroes are returning home to find that the lives they left behind no longer exist. In some instances, they have lost their homes, in others their families, in some their livelihoods.
Following World War II, our returning veterans came home and were given an opportunity to obtain their American Dream through the creation of suburbia. They worked diligently and I am proud to say that I am the product of that American Dream on both sides of my family.
Two major problems that face our returning veterans today are: 1) a lack of housing; and 2) a lagging job market;
Far too many of our veterans end up homeless. In fact, an overwhelmingly large percentage of homeless people are veterans who have returned stateside to no home and no job. We need to do more for those who have put themselves in harms way for us. This is a strong argument for the development of workforce housing in our community. A set aside for veterans on the part of the developers would be the appropriate means to ensure that housing is going to our returning heroes.
With regard to employing returning veterans, the state government should provide tax relief to small businesses who hire a returning vet. This will serve to provide the small business with the talented workforce they require and at the same time provide our veteran community with a career to return to.
Let us make sure that as we move forward we truly thank our returning veterans by providing them with a REAL welcome home.
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." President John F. Kennedy