Want to help veterans? Stop pitying them

With so few possessing a direct link to someone who has served, Americans often don’t understand that most of our veterans are not damaged and that many have successfully navigated the transition to life after the military. Even those suffering from trauma or physical injuries can have an enormously positive impact in their communities. Our veterans can make — and are making — valuable contributions in business, government, education, health and community service.

Our all-volunteer force has provided us with the best-trained military in the world. The reliance on volunteers, however, has led many other Americans to pay scant attention to the sacrifice and skill of our warriors. We let them protect us, while we go on with life as usual.

After World War II, even if your veteran neighbor wandered the street at night, agitated with shell shock, you knew that other veterans were going to be just fine. You knew this because you knew them — because your father, sons and brothers had served.

But that tie is no more.