Today’s generation of military members, veterans and their families is making an impact on American society that could be felt for generations to come, according to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.
Speaking to a group of political staffers, defense industry officials and reporters at The Hill newspaper’s annual Tribute to the Troops breakfast yesterday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stressed the need to take care of veterans. He discussed Defense and Veterans Affairs initiatives he is involved with to help communities realize the potential of veterans and how to integrate them into their societies. The future of the country depends on reaching out to veterans and involving them in their communities, he said.
“It should never be about veterans returning and seeing them as a burden,” Mullen said. “It should be about veterans returning and seeing them with great potential to serve in the future and make a huge difference.”
Such national initiatives also are ongoing with the Post 9/11 GI Bill and efforts to end homelessness among veterans. Along with their potential, the needs of veterans are too great to ignore, Mullen said.
Organizations throughout the country express their desire to help, but some veteran outreach groups are burdened with raising resources, Mullen said. He explained he would much rather help to connect such organizations with other groups for resources. But it is a work in progress, he added.
The nation’s future is in great hands with today’s veterans leading tomorrow’s communities, because “we have the best people we’ve ever had.”
“We need to make sure we not just recognize that they are the treasure, [but] that we protect, invest in, depend on them for the future,” Mullen said. “If we get that right, [the future] will be just fine, no matter what happens in the world. If we don’t, it will dramatically increase the challenges.”