Post Memorial Day follow-up

May 30th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

Our thoughts and deepest appreciation to all the military who have given their lives for their country.
What more fitting tribute to honor the deceased than to remember the living whose lives will be permanently changed due to combat-related disabilities. There are more than 1 million veterans registered as Disabled American Veterans and, sadly, that number is increasing daily – more than 18,000 have been wounded in Iraq. Today, thanks to better body armor and better medicine, wounded members of the military are surviving injuries that would have been lethal in the past. However, this means that we will be seeing more profoundly disabled vets. 60 Minutes recently reported on the inspirational stories of several of these vets. Others veterans suffer PTSD – wounds that may be less visible to the eye, but that can have tragic results.
It’s all well and good to hang yellow ribbons and offer a silent prayer on Memorial Day, but the rubber will meet the road in how we treat our vets on their return over the long term. This will test our national character, and as disabled vets begin returning to the workplace, will test employer resolve as well.
On another note, Peter Rousmaniere at Working Immigrants notes that about 6,000 immigrants enroll in the U.S. military each year as a means to citizenship. As of 2003, non-citizens represented 2.6 percent of the military. Many pay a steep price to attain this dream.
Workplace Prof Blog reports on issues related to veteran re-employment. Veterans have legal obligations to file both departure and return notices to employers to protect re-employment. Unfortunately, there is a lack of clarity about these notices.
Craig Crawford, columnist for Congressional Quarterly, has a short and touching Memorial Day tribute video clip posted on his blog. (Sound alert, and you need flash to see the clip).