Thursday, February 13, 2014

After The Fire....

After the Fire, the Fire still burns
The Heart grows older but never ever learns.
The Memories smolder and the Soul always yearns,
After the Fire, the Fire still burns.
-Pete Townshend

I reckon that by this point of the winter, just about everyone north of the Equator would enjoy spending a minute or two of quality time with Pennsylvania's favorite weather-forecasting rodent.  Nary a week goes by without the latest iteration of "The Storm of The Century" appearing in the forecast model.  This week's entry into the all-time weather-event sweepstakes is supposed to arrive sometime this afternoon or this evening and bring with it anywhere from four to eight inches of snow.  But for the fact that we are going to be otherwise engaged the final week of February, I would have broken ground on the gondola lift and the chalet already. 

But it is what it is.  As long as you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your belly then you have a leg up on handling adverse weather.  It is when one or more of those things is in short supply that day-to-day existence takes on a couple or three unnecessary levels of complication. 

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans whose website is www.nchv.org estimates that 12% of the adult homeless population in this country is comprised of veterans of the United States Military.  The percentage rises when only homeless males are taken into account.  It is estimated that 20% of the male homeless population is comprised of our veterans.  One out of five.  According to their web site, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 57,849 veterans are homeless on any given night.  In 2010, approximately 12,700 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn were homeless.  These numbers are not only depressing, they are anger-inducing.  

The person I was most angry at when I first read these statistics was me because until I read the NCHV web site I had no appreciation for the scope of the problem.   Fortunately, it is not a problem for which no solution exists.  There are any number of things that we can do to assist those who stepped into harm's way for us.  The NCHV web site provides a link to a number of organizations that are on the front line - as it were - assisting homeless veterans:  http://nchv.org/index.php/help/help/locate_organization/.  

I can only control me and what I do.  I not only need to do better by those who have manned a post in the defense of this nation, I shall do better.  Talk costs little.  It achieves even less.  It does not put a roof over one's head.  Or a meal in one's belly.  Or clothes on one's back.       


-AK

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