Today is Veterans Day and whatever our politics or opinions of war, we need to respect, honor and most critically, care about our veterans. In reflecting upon the importance of Veterans Day, I came across some surprising and even shocking facts on the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:
- More than 6,600 dead.
- 2.5 million men and women have been deployed in these two wars – over 400,000 have done more than three deployments. If you do not know anyone who has served it is because we have made an unprecedented demand on a small population.
- Over 50,000 wounded.
- More than 25,000 diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
- More than 150,000 have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- There have been close to 2,000 amputees.
- 22 veterans (from all our wars) commit suicide each day.
- ?On average it takes the VA about nine months to complete a claim while in some big cities the average delay is over 600 days.
These stark statistics will impact thousands of families and surely last a lifetime.
With all our societal and technological advancements, we collectively have yet to evolve past war as our way of settling differences and therefore are we are all responsible for those who have sacrificed.
In honor of Veteran’s Day watch this moving segment from CBS news until the end and you will hear a remarkable rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by Tim Donnelley – a multiple amputee – that you will never forget.
It is easy to be moved by our Veteran’s heroism and resilience but to be moved without actually doing anything to help is what is called cheap grace. So if Tim opens your heart, find a place today and everyday to contribute to and help our Veterans.? Volunteer, donate, spread the word on social media. When we connect our yearning to do the right thing to action we transform a fleeting feeling into an enduring good.
Rabbi Irwin Kula is a 7th generation rabbi and a disruptive spiritual innovator. A rogue thinker, author of the award-winning book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, and President-Emeritus of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, he works at the intersection of religion, innovation, and human flourishing. A popular commentator in both new and traditional media, he is co-founder with Craig Hatkoff and the late Professor Clay Christensen of The Disruptor Foundation whose mission is to advance disruptive innovation theory and its application in societal critical domains. He serves as a consultant to a wide range of foundations, organizations, think tanks, and businesses and is on the leadership team of Coburn Ventures, where he offers uncommon inputs on cultural and societal change to institutional investors across sectors and companies worldwide.