This seems like the appropriate day to tell you that we have a problem with military veterans in the US. We all do. It doesn’t matter where you land on the ideological spectrum or what you thought about some US foreign policy decision. If you live in the US, you are benefitting from the sacrifice of our veterans, and it’s not enough to pay your taxes and put a “support our troops” magnet on your car.

The problem has two aspects. The first is more or less logistical–a resource problem. There are veterans today who, after risking life and limb for you, are homeless, who are taking out second mortgages on their homes to pay their bills, who are undergoing long, intense bureaucratic nightmares for disability benefits, and many other forms of economic suffering. Not all of them, of course, but it happens, and this should never happen. Unfortunately, aside from voting or working in social services, I’m not sure what you can do about it. If you hire people, though, consider hiring veterans.

The second aspect is more spiritual. In this country, we are bad at integrating our warriors into civilian society. We get tired of our wars and stop paying attention to them. We don’t know where our returning warriors have been or what they have done. We’re not interested. We benefit but we don’t care. Or we’re scared to find out. Our warriors end up holding their stories on their own, or inside their brotherhood, not fully part of the wider culture. Not all of them, of course, but many, and this should never happen. Luckily, there is something you can do about this. Stay interested in the details of our conflicts. Be around veterans and be interested. Don’t pry, but listen.