Photo: N. Williams
Santa Monica High School

Commentary: In memory of our veterans

On Memorial Day weekend my dad took me to the Veterans’ Cemetery to pay our respects. The local Boy Scout troop had placed flags at each head stone. Some of the flags had fallen, just like the soldiers.

My dad and I spent two hours straightening the flags. It gave us an opportunity to read about the lives of those who died for our freedoms. One really old one was from the Indian Wars, about which I had never heard.

It is really important for us to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and died for our country. But then I’m reminded how there are those who made sacrifices and lived. It’s important to remember them too. While they didn’t die for our country, they still put their lives on the line.

L.A. County has the largest population of homeless veterans in the country– 4,828. That’s 57 percent more homeless veterans than there were at this point in 2016.

According to one homeless vet, there are strict limits to the VA’s housing vouchers, so she lives in a tent on the sidewalk. No fan fare, no parades, no flags– just stares, glares and wishes that she could have the opportunity to live somewhere else than where she does.

As a society we can’t accept any people living in tents on the street, and especially not our veterans. And yet the problem not only continues, but grows.

At the veteran’s cemetery my dad told me he that he took me there every year as a kid on Memorial Day weekend. I don’t remember. It’s hard to remember.

But we cannot only remember the brave men and women who have served for us on that one weekend. They need to be remembered every day. We only live in freedom because of them.

On June 13, the county Board of Supervisors is going to vote on budgets to utilize the Measure H funds, which are dedicated to solving the homeless crisis.  Let’s hope they remember those who have sacrificed for our freedom.