Homeless in the U.S. 1-25-08
Written by Peter Macdonald 465 Packersfalls rd Lee NH 03824
The hard times of winter are here. There are people living on the streets and under bridges because our government has failed. Should the average person complain or stay silent as not to be singled out by abusive government agents. These Gov. agents are not bad people but it is a natural act to harm those that correct what is perceived to be the right way. Gov. agents do not like to be told what to do. The people grant HUD and different Gov agencies public money to do a job. Is it possible to spend the money in a more efficient manner? Can we solve or control homelessness by using the money in a more practical manner? Should homeless people be allowed to tent on public land? Does the public realize that 25 percent of the homeless are disabled Veterans. Disabled because of where these hero’s have been and what they have seen. Can we ignore or limit the use of public land or money to help these people in hard times.
A few years back I volunteered at a Dover NH hospital. Once in a while, a homeless man, over weight, smelly and in poor health would come into the Coffee Shop. Summer or winter he always had an Army coat on. I volunteered almost every day at the coffee shop so when people came in that looked like they needed a friend I would sit and talk with them. Many times the coffee shop donated coffee unknowingly to aid in my desire to ease the pain or loneliness of others. Over the many years of volunteering I became sort of friends with this man. Many times I referred this man to people that I knew that need jobs done. Near the end of my volunteering at the coffee shop I learned this man was a Veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. He lost his family, friends and life after being unable to separate the returning memories from his attitude toward others. I had only seen his friendliest side in all the time that I knew him. The effects of agent orange, the memories of being a tunnel rat drove this man (Hero) to take his own life. The military, Veterans Administration, other government agencies and hospitals turned this bum (hero in disguise) away. The hard times combined with the loneliness of living on the street and the flash backs took this Hero home to the others that died in Vietnam.
I felt a bond to this man because the silent echo’s of war were silently living in my head. We had talked about many things but only a word or so here or there about the conflict. This child gave to become a Veteran for the safety of theUnited States, discrimination and the attitude of others toward homeless people killed this hero. If only 11% of the U.S. population serve in our military and 25% of the homeless are Veterans there is a good chance that lending a hand to the homeless is caring for some that gave his life for you.
Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi