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posted: 5/22/2013 5:00 AM

Thank a veteran and pick up the tab

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Every day, 20 veterans commit suicide. Last year more vets committed suicide than were killed in the war. Under the best conditions it is difficult to transition into a "normal" life. Many come home to unemployment and a family to care for, and loss of their homes. Suddenly their old friends seem years younger and immature. They hear complaints about the heat, the cold, the food, wanting a new car. Or the baby that kept them awake last night.

These warriors have wondered if they would ever see their child again and long to hear it cry. They went days with terrible food -- sometimes no food. They walked in 110 degree heat with 80 pounds strapped the their back. Went days without sleep because they were in combat.

When I returned home from the Vietnam War we did not have a great welcome. Hopefully, we have learned from the emotional scars that were inflicted upon our men and women when they returned home from that war. If you get the chance when you see a veteran, be sure to thank him or her for serving. If you see them buying coffee pick up the tab. If you can afford it, pick up their dinner tab. Pray for them every day. These people are our true heroes, not the sports figures or Hollywood stars. These are the people who put their lives on the line for all of us. Let's show them our gratitude

Gary Hoerauf

Prospect Heights

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