We often talk about how important veterans are. We all want to help and make them feel welcomed, appreciated, and respected. It is difficult to imagine that these brave men and women leave their families behind so they can serve and protect the families of complete strangers. Their love for their country gives them the strength and courage to sacrifice their lives. As civilians it can feel trivial to thank a veteran. There are no words big enough to explain the admiration and high regards we feel for the hard work they do. Nonetheless, their pain and struggle when they return to a regular life is real. Veterans often speak of feeling disconnected to daily life after spending months trying to stay alive and seeing things no human being should ever have to experience.Many of the men and women who serve do not understand the impact and trauma of war. Returning home can make them feel isolated and overwhelmed.
Transitioning to civilian life such as; writing up a resume, looking for a job, and even adjusting to daily life with a spouse and kids not seen or been around for months is extremely difficult.
The Chief Operating officer for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Maureen Casey, says that less than 1% of the American population has served since 9/11.
She was sent to serve in Mosul, Iraq in 2004. Living through war and not knowing if she would be alive tomorrow, made Gonzalez “learn to value life.”
Yet her experience has made her stronger. “I went to Iraq, and I made it back home. So I can do anything,” says Gonzalez.
She struggled to accept she was not the same person she used to be before being deployed to a war zone.
Coaching basketball has allowed her to overcome her PTSD. “I really believe sports can end a lot of wars,” explains Gonzalez. “Once you get on the court, once you get on the field, you are just people. There is no race, there is no hate.”
Green A Vet shows the men and women who served, they are not alone. Honouring their sacrifices by changing the porch light green means the world to them.
“Greenlight” is a term used to active forward movement. By going green civilians are recognizing veterans. This also gives them the push to “greenlight” forward as strong and valued members of the community.
Replace one bulb in the office, porch, and yard. Just make sure it’s visible enough that a veteran can see it if they are walking by. This small act can change their lives.