As we set about planning our barbecues and stocking our Styrofoam coolers with beer, let us take a moment to remember Independence Day's meaning. It is also known as The Fourth of July or Patriot's Day. It is the anniversary of America's Declaration of Independence from England, on July 4th, 1776 and this year marks its 239th anniversary.
"In 1775, people in New England began fighting the British for their independence. On July 2, 1776, the Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was first published two days later on July 4, 1776. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776. Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776." -timeanddate.com
But for many of our State's Veteran's it's not all sparklers, flags and fireworks.
"VERMONT HAS THE HIGHEST RATE OF HOMELESSNESS IN NEW ENGLAND; AT LEAST 66% OF VERMONT HOUSEHOLDS DO NOT EARN ENOUGH TO AFFORD THE AVERAGE FAIR MARKET RENT. In Vermont, an estimated 125 veterans are homeless on any given night. Studies demonstrate that veterans are particularly vulnerable to becoming chronically homeless when support services and stable housing are lacking in a community." - Committee on Temporary Shelter, Burlington, Vermont
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nation's homeless veterans are mostly males (four percent are females). The vast majority is single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45 percent suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon. Source: National Coalition for homeless veterans: http://www.nchv.org/background.cfm
Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, or the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. 47 per cent of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam Era.
More than 67 per cent served our country for at least three years and 33 per cent were stationed in a war zone.
Here are some statistics concerning the veterans homeless from the National Coalition for the Homeless (http://www.nationalhomeless.org):
23% of homeless population are veterans
33% of male homeless population are veterans
47% Vietnam Era
67% served three or more years
33% stationed in war zone
25% have used VA Homeless Services
85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
89% received Honorable Discharge
79% reside in central cities
16% reside in suburban areas
5% reside in rural areas
76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
46% white males compared to 34% non-veterans
46% age 45 or older compared to 20% non-veterans
Female homeless veterans represent an estimated 3% of homeless veterans. They are more likely than male homeless veterans to be married and to suffer serious psychiatric illness, but less likely to be employed and to suffer from addiction disorders. Comparisons of homeless female veterans and other homeless women have found no differences in rates of mental illness or addictions.
WHERE TO FIND ASSISTANCE for Homeless Veterans in Vermont and surrounding borders: (Links will open in a different window)
Vermont Veteran Services
VVS Home Page
(also known as the Statue of Liberty Poem)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad." - wiki
Have a safe and blessed Fourth!