When veterans, some wounded and often suffering from PTSD, returned from the Vietnam War they were met with anything but open arms and appreciation for their service.
Rather than giving returning veterans of the war welcoming parades, Americans seemed to shun, if not denigrate, the 2 million-plus Americans who went to Vietnam, the 1.6 million who served in combat, the 300,000 physically wounded, the many more who bore psychological scars, the 2,387 listed as “missing in action,” and the more than 58,000 who died,
writes Havard Sitikoff in his book, The Postwar Impact of Vietnam. “Virtually nothing was done to aid veterans and their loved ones who needed assistance in adjusting.”
Post-Vietnam, more veterans killed themselves than actually died in the conflict and an estimated three-quarters of a million veterans became a part of the lost army of homeless.
America has no doubt gleaned many a lesson about the way in which our veterans and their families should be treated and cared for after serving the country; and the Obama Administration has made the treatment of veterans and military families a special focus.
Continuing the commitment to support our Nation’s military families, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched a national initiative called “Joining Forces” at an open press White House event. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society — citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government — to ensure military families have the support they have earned.
Following the launch of this initiative at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will embark on a two day national tour to visit extraordinary examples of communities, businesses and non-profits working to support our Nation’s military families.
On the national tour, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden will highlight the work of Americans who have answered the call to serve our military families to showcase ways all Americans can serve them, from teachers and business leaders, to neighbors and volunteers.
Throughout the Obama Administration Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have visited military communities at home and abroad, learned about the unique challenges our troops, veterans and their families face, and have seen firsthand the commitment to service that defines so many of our military families. This initiative was created to address the unique challenges that they heard about directly from families including reconnecting military families with all communities. It also builds upon the President’s directive to establish a coordinated and comprehensive Federal approach to supporting military families.
The National Tour will commence with a stop at Camp Lejeune where they will speak to 3,000 Marines, soldiers, sailors and military families, as well as pay a visit to Operation Shower, a non-profit organization that honors the sacrifices military families make by hosting unit-wide baby showers for expecting military families in a deployment or high stress situation. They will bring gifts donated through a special White House Operation Shower donation drive
In the upcoming weeks First Lady Michelle Obama will also be speaking at four commencement ceremonies. The last two stops put into action Mrs. Obama’s commitment to supporting and highlighting the strength of America’s military and their families as Quantico Middle High School is home to students whose parents are faithfully serving our nation, and West Point is the leading U.S. Military Academy.
For more information on the initiative and national tour please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces