A millennial’s take on caring for, and about, veterans

Last week I wrote a post about Amy Adams, an award winning actress who gave up her first class seat to a military serviceman. Adams is no stranger to attention through her acting, and her kindness did not go unnoticed, but, unfortunately, the good things our soldiers do for us overseas — and in our communities — often do.

Let’s face it. We live in a society where a lot of people think “reality” means a bunch of housewives living in Orange County. And okay, okay, I admit I indulge in this trash television myself, but I think of it as a getaway from the realities that are harder to face, like the tragedies in the Middle East and within our nation’s borders.

In a blog post I wrote last fall I talked about what it felt like to see the movie The Hornet’s Nest for the first time – I still remember the impact that first showing had on my life. To put it modestly, The Hornet’s Nest is as real as it gets. The film follows Mike Boettcher, an award winning war correspondent (and superhero Easter Seals board member) as he travels to Afghanistan’s front line with his son, Carlos. Viewers follow the father-son duo throughout their mission with 101st Airborne, an elite group of U.S. troops.

For 90 captivating minutes, I was taken to the trenches of Afghanistan, watching soldiers, some younger than me, fight for their lives. I laughed and cried together with other audience members, and all of us in the theater vowed to do all we could to make a change to the heartbreak within our nation’s borders. But at the end of the night, we all returned to our comfortable lives. I was able to return to my typical college student lifestyle where my only “tragedy” was math and Friday classes.

Some of the soldiers featured in the film, who have accomplished more in 20 years than I will in a lifetime, do not have that privilege. These young veterans are some of our nation’s brightest, embodying courage and an unmatchable work ethic. They should be an employer’s dream, yet they face high unemployment rates.

Films like the Hornet’s Nest open our eyes to a necessary reality we may not want to see. I encourage everyone to watch the Hornet’s Nest, and after you’ve seen it once, request a screening in your town so you can see it again. When the film is finished, think of ways your community can support our returning heroes.

Many communities and employers simply lack the resources to support our new generation of veterans and caregivers. That’s where Easter Seals Dixon Center comes in. Easter Seals Dixon Center strengthens communities and enables veteran families to thrive where they live. In June, Easter Seals Dixon Center and the Dole Foundation launched a series of free webinars for military caregivers. Our brave military service men and women served us, now it’s our time to serve them.

Watch the free military caregiving webinar on demand on Easterseals.com/carewebinar.


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