As a nation, we rely upon our armed forces to protect and defend the Constitution and the rights and freedoms it guarantees. Our servicemembers risk their lives for the reward of maintaining our democracy; even putting this solemn duty ahead of their own wellbeing, families, and loved ones.
Yet, over the decades, veterans have had to protest against promises unkept and obligations unfulfilled, made and broken by the power brokers who sent them off to war. In 1932, in the throes of the Great Depression, veterans camped out in Washington, D.C., demanding the cash bonuses they were promised for fighting in World War I.
Violence ensued, and the government sent in hundreds of troops to end the protest. Four more years passed before they finally received their bonuses.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Vietnam War protesters railed against the war; those who ran it and those who fought it. Many veterans came home to fight both the illnesses caused by Agent Orange and the government’s refusals to acknowledge their claims and to provide for their medical care.
In the late 1990s, veterans returned to the Capitol to fight for service-connected illnesses from exposure to various toxins while serving in the Gulf, which included burn pit exposure. The fight continued for two decades when, just this past summer, veterans returned to the Capitol to confront Congress about covering toxic burn pit exposure illnesses and the horrific impacts they’ve had on veterans and their families.
The home front should never be as challenging as the battlefield. As our 2022 CalVet Veterans Day poster so powerfully proclaims: “Veterans served to protect our rights. We fight to protect theirs.”
We are honored and privileged to advocate for California’s 1.6 million veterans. California has the largest number of veterans of any state in the nation, as well as the most supported, the most connected, and the most respected.
This poster serves as a reminder of what these veterans face at home should never be as complicated and challenging as what they endured during their service. Let us all recognize and pay tribute to our nation’s more than 19 million living veterans, including the 1.6 million veterans residing in California.
CalVet produces a Veterans Day Poster each year. This poster is available for download in three formats. All are available here www.calvet.ca.gov.