Veterans Day is a pause in our regular schedules to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in our military. We regard the acknowledgment as so important that we close City offices and dismiss the employees (some of them themselves veterans) for the day.
This service and the sacrifice it has entailed for military members and their families deserves special attention this year when the country is at war and its military remains deployed in combat zones.
More than a decade of combat operations and years of military build-ups have created a new cadre of military veterans. Most of them have returned safely to their families, lives, and jobs. Some (and too many at any) have returned to live more challenged lives as men and women with serious disabilities or as chronically homeless people.
It is a tragedy worth considering on Veterans Day that, while there exists a range of programs and revenue in the St. Louis specifically addressed to help veterans, not every St. Louis veteran has found his or way to that assistance.
The job that we face as a community is to match veterans to the services available to help them. Once before I asked you for assistance in doing that. I ask that again today.
Those of you who live, work, or spend a lot of time in City neighborhoods, like the Loop, the CWE, the central business district, and Washington Avenue may be acquainted with some of the homeless people who regularly hang out on the loading docks, doorways, bus stops, and park benches. If you are familiar enough with them to know if they are vets, you can help them (and your neighborhood) by making them familiar with Employment Connection.
Employment Connection, a state and federally funded program that is partnered with the City's department of social services, matches a wide range of services, temporary and permanent housing, jobs placement, training, counseling, medical treatment, transportation, available to homeless veterans who need them.
There are probably enough resources in St. Louis to get every willing veteran off the street; but, there are not yet enough eyes on the street to find them all. That's where you can help. Please pass along the telephone number. It's 333-5621.
That would be Veterans Day observance worth performing.