WHAT’S THE POINT — Today is a national holiday to honor all veterans for the service they gave to our country. It began under President Woodrow Wilson as Armistice Day, to celebrate the end of hostilities in World War 1, and has morphed over the years into what we now call Veterans Day. Originally the day was set aside and dedicated to the cause of world peace, but the purpose has changed to focus on those who served, both living and dead.
In America we tend to have a romanticized view of what being a veteran means. Oftentimes the politicians, or the celebrities seeking additional publicity like to glorify and pay homage to the veterans with hoary language and profuse Thank You’s. And then they walk off stage and do nothing.
I am not a fan of the hollow and frothy statements that so many make about those who served. I’d rather do something of actual value for a veteran, I’d rather we as a society actually provide vets with the services they need to recover from the horrors they experienced in our name and for our benefit.
There are varying numbers put out by social service agencies about how many veterans are living on the streets, and how many commit suicide each day. Some say 22 a day, some say fewer, some say more. In any case it’s an appalling number. Most of them are men that we have abandoned after they did their service.
The Veteran’s Administration does the best they can with what they have ‚Äì I believe that ‚Äì I don’t believe that anyone who works at the VA is actively trying to under-perform. It’s a labor of love for most of them ‚Äì but there are problems. Problems that are solvable, if we demanded it of our public servants who hold the purse strings and make the agendas.
When a vet leaves the service they should be able to get the help they need. We know that with proper support people can rebuild their lives.
I know this because a week ago Sunday I was on the grass area by the rings and I saw this young man who was doing back flips. He’s about my height, and stocky in build like me so I was impressed with his athletic skills. As I was chatting him up I learned a great deal about him.
It turns out that he was one of the many youth who get into trouble with the law. He’s spent some time in the system and has the tattoos to show for it. At first look he’s got that bad boy thing going on, but as soon as he opens his mouth out falls an exuberant, happy, joyful young man who really doesn’t fit his exterior. His name is Chris Luera and he has an interesting story of redemption and success.
On this particular weekend Luera was on the grassy area which is home to a rag-tag group of gymnasts and acrobatic artists who perform feats of physical strength. Luera is a personal trainer, but he’s also a winner in the World Calisthenics Organization Battle of the Bars competition. If you’re not familiar with this sport it’s about strength and flexibility and feats of daring do. The man can plank on his wrists, and have another plank on him, on his wrists!
Chris has been at this for two years and in that time has gone from novice to champion. He’s been sought out by sponsors like Strength Wraps, True Honor clothing, and IBeast Clothing (www.ibeast-clothing.com). He’s traveling the world for his sponsors and expanding awareness about the sport of calisthenics. This year he was in Moscow Russia representing, and he brought home a winner’s trophy for his efforts. Next up is possibly Dubai for the Battle of the Bars there.
So how does this all relate to Veterans Day? Well I-Beast Clothing was formed by a veteran named Sean McDonald who wants to inspire people to “beast their interest in life.” It is the story of a veteran who is doing something positive to help someone else. It is the story of Chris who has learned to “beast his life” and turn it around from troubled youth to successful champion. It is the story of a veteran who is helping and inspiring him along the way.
I refuse to give up on people in general. I believe that if we worked at it, if we wanted to really help the troubled veterans, we could help most of them. I know there are some who don’t want help, but we should be there for the ones who do want help.
People can fix their lives, if we give them a hand up. So this Veterans Day, see what you can do to help out a vet who may need a hand, or a meal, or maybe even just some words of encouragement.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached email@example.com 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra