Veterans are men and women and their families who have a calling and serve for our freedom. They do it because they want to unless they are among those who were in the draft. They are a special breed. They are different, and thank you each for being who you are and for your service.
I drive by a man on the street corner everyday when I take my daughter to and from school. He has a sweet disposition and really piercing blue eyes. He is dirty and disheveled, but I have always noticed that he is tone and has amazing posture and a Marine hair cut.
I watch him when I sit at the red light. He has a military backpack, and he is always drinking a cup of what appears to be a Whataburger cup. He goes to his backpack and pours it from of a 40 ounce can of malt liquor or beer. He starts early and stays late. He is so fucked up by the end of the day that he falls down on his little hill. Once we saw him almost fall under the bus. He stopped just off the curb just before the bus wheels would have run over his head. He got up laughing.
One day early in our lives here, I saw him on my way to school. He is across the street when going. I saw an ambulance and a cop. They loaded him up and took him away. After I got my kiddo, I was at his red light and saw his backpack. I considered and talked to Jessi about picking it up and bringing it back to him later so that someone would not steal what he has in there. We opted out of that one. And someone did steal his backpack and his things.
I know that because when he was back a few days later with stitches on his head and abrasions all over his body. He had a different backpack. I stopped at the green light and stopped traffic behind me and asked him a few questions. He said that it had been his birthday, and he fell and hurt himself. Someone did steal his backpack, but a nice lady bought him a new one with a new alarm clock that he needed. The light turned green again, and I gave him a dollar and drove off.
I talk to him almost everyday after that. His name is Ed. He served our country in Iraq for four years in the Marine Corp. He has been arrested four times since then, so he is not eligible for any benefits. His hair is still cut right. His posture looks like that of a Marine when he is not completely shit faced. His eyes are clear, and his skin is dirty but not unkempt like a lot of homeless people.
I do not want him on the street. I offered to help him, but he does not want to go to homeless shelter. To Ed and the other homeless Veterans in America—estimated to be between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night representing between one-fourth and one-fifth of all homeless people – according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, I say Happy Veterans Day.