Editorial: Veterans continue to serve after military service
A veteran is someone who has been there and done the job.
A veteran is someone who got to come home when the job was over.
A veteran is someone who understands what it means to commit and complete.
A veteran did the job for more than a paycheck.
Pennsylvania residents who performed military service are a resource in a state where population is declining and the development of the workforce is a repeated theme for those tasked with growing the economy.
Look at the numbers.
The Keystone State boasts 345,906 veterans between 18 and 64, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.
Of those, 77 percent were working in 2016, compared to 76 percent of the general population. Unemployment among Pennsylvania veterans is about 4.9 percent, compared to 5.7 percent for non-veterans.
Pennsylvania veterans were hard workers when they served their country. Outside of combat, they were most likely to work in engineering, machinery and transportation.
Only seven states boast more veterans, and the numbers continue to grow. There are 2,580 active duty military members who call Pennsylvania home and 30,244 reservists, according to the Department of Defense.
That speaks of a solid, continuing core to the state’s workforce, and that’s good for everyone.
A nice veteran backbone to the people working hard in Pennsylvania means families have good homes. It means communities have tax revenue. It means companies want to locate here to provide more jobs to pay more people and provide more of that money that goes to paving roads, providing education and all of the other things goverment does for us.
It all starts with military service. It might be a couple of years. It might be longer. It might include some time in combat, and it might mean some time in the reserves. What it almost always means is an understanding of service and duty, and that some responsibilities are larger than self.
That’s why a veteran might be more than a hero. A veteran might be the best kind of neighbor.
And that is why we have to demand more for them.
The Veterans Affairs Department provides services to those who spent time in uniform. The most critical is the medical care they were promised.
For a time, a lot of focus was placed on rehabing the VA, especially the electronic medical records system, but in a contentious midterm election year, it has been months since the national lens was trained on that. That has to become a priority again.
Our veterans did what they could for us while they served. Pennsylvania veterans continue to add to our lives every day.
The least we can do is raise our voices to bring attention to what they need.