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On the Street: a Veteran’s View of America

posted by Jenn Pearson on Monday, February 20 at 6:26pm

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This is an essay written by long-time Real Change vendor, August Mallory. It is reprinted with his permission.

On the Street: a Veteran’s View of America
By August H. Mallory

On this cold and chilly saturday morning and as I stand outside of the seattle union gospel mission to grab some breakfast I cannot help but notice the number of men and the few women who come to the mission to get a meal. I remember reading some history on rescue missions and shelters,  they were once established for men dependent on alcohol and drugs, but as time went on the need for rescue missions became greater,  the great depression of the 1930s brought on a different arena for rescue missions as the depression hit at the heart of america,  people begin to feel the pinch of unemployment and poverty across america, and the need for rescue missions and other faith based shelters were in high demand,  but even today the need for more shelters and shelter beds are in demand. with people losing jobs and losing their homes the need for shelters and shelter beds are even greater now.

As I wait to be called inside for breakfast,  I see a great number of military veterans who rank highest amongst america’s homeless population,  men and women who fought for this country have now found themselves let down by the very nation in which they gave their time and their lives for. as a U.S. Navy Veteran I keep asking myself why is it that we as vets go into the military to gain special skills to prepare us for outside employment can never find the jobs that match our skills,  and even when we go to all of these trade schools and major universities we are still left standing in the cold.  we served this country, and the best america can do is leave us standing in long lines waiting for a meal.  this totally unfair.  an absolute slap in the face.  I keep asking myself, what did I do this for if I am going to be treated in such a manner.  whatever happened to veterans preference when it came to employment.

For some strange reason that is a thing of the past,  however I would like to thank President Obama for speaking out on the behalf of veterans,  President Obama never served in the military so he really doesn’t know the struggles that veterans are going through, but he does know what the struggles of being an african american is,  and as an african american the struggle for equality still exist in america.

People of color do rank highest amongst the nations poor and homeless.  I suppose I should be greatful though, when I look at other countries and what they are going through.  I guess living in america isn’t so bad.


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