Although there are more than 23 million veterans living in the United States, according to a 2018 Fox News report, many veterans do not get the support they need. Because many veterans have seen combat and the horrors of war, they return to the States at a higher risk of mental health issues and face disproportionately high suicide rates. Veterans can also struggle to get health care support or the job training that they deserve for risking their lives in the name of the country – and many are simply alone with no one to care for them – and end up feeling invisible.
While citizens often go out of their way to show appreciation for veterans, the state and government could do a better job. It shouldn’t be up to average people to make sure these warriors know that the risk they took on behalf of their fellow citizens and the government was worth it. They should be shown the respect they deserve.
In a post that has since gone viral on Love What Matters on Facebook, Cailey Marie Sparks shared her thoughts about veterans and how they should be treated.
“Last evening, my mom and I were walking into Texas Roadhouse in Savanah, Georgia when we noticed a man sitting on the outside patio.”
The man had long gray hair, an unkempt style, but was wearing a jacket loaded with veteran badges.
Sparks watched the veteran offering a smile to everyone who entered the chain restaurant. Even though he had been forgotten by American society after risking his life in combat, he was still serving the people and offering them a little something to make them smile.
When Sparks and her mom sat down in the restaurant, she saw the veteran in another booth. He was by himself, eating a meal. He looked so lonely and kept sweeping his eyes around the restaurant trying to connect with people. Most people kept their eyes down, avoiding him.
However, a young waiter started a conversation with the veteran. Although he was busy, he refused to let the veteran feel as though he were invisible.
“The young waiter in the photo had all the patience in the world. He stopped to talk to this man, smiled and laughed with him and listened to stories about his life,” Sparks wrote.
That’s when Sparks and her mom decided to act. They flagged down the restaurant manager and told him that they wanted to pay for the veteran’s meal.
The manager told them they were too late that “somebody else already has” paid.
“Everyone in the section grinned when the waiter told him that his meal was covered,” Sparks wrote. “The man then left, telling everyone on the way out that he hoped they had a good night.”
While the veteran usually walked around the world feeling invisible, that day at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, he was treated like a king. It made all the difference for him and lifted his spirits.
What do you think about the treatment of veterans in America? Could it be better?