Friday, November 11, 2011

A cheap oil change? We can do better

Is anyone else uncomfortable about the seemingly endless barrage of gratuitous Veteran’s Day offers from businesses? I’ve seen today a free meal deal at Applebee’s, a free car wash, and, strangest of all, a discounted $15 oil change for veterans that was advertised in the Kansas City Star.

Is saving vets a few bucks the only way to thank those who have sacrificed so much for us?

A better idea might be to support veterans when they get home, and not just with a few sweet deals. By support, I mean encouraing businesses to actively recruit vets for jobs, and actively (and vocally) supporting enhanced public and private sector support for vets struggling with the mental and physical after-effects of combat.

Of course, much has been written, but not enough done, about serving and saving homeless veterans. Vets make up 9% of the overall population, but are 15% of the homeless population.(LA Times)

The freebies are fine, but their effects are as fleeting as Veteran's Day itself. If we value the contributions of our veterans, we need to stand up and be counted, and not just one day a year.

Peace Journalism Podcast

I spoke at a recent Parkville (MO) Rotary Club meeting about my adventures teaching peace journalism in Uganda. The speech was especially salient for the Parkville Rotary, which has generously donated $4000 to feed hungry kids at a poverty-stricken school in Arua in northwestern Uganda. A week after my presentation, I was interviewed about Uganda and peace journalism for a Rotary Club podcast. Click here to listen to that podcast. (Be patient…the first two minutes of the show touches on other Rotary business).

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