November 11, 2012
Today, we commemorate those who have served this country. A unified chorus of support for veterans rings throughout the land. If there is any note of conflict, it revolves around whether the displays of gratitude let the public off the hook the other 364 days of the year. There may be some truth to that. But simply extending the spirit of appreciation to the other 364 days won’t, in itself, provide the men and women who’ve served in combat with the support that they deserve. What’s required is some concerted and creative thinking about how to serve the needs of veterans in 2036, not just 2012. In that year, assuming — as we surely can — that there is no universal draft, the number of veterans will have declined from 22 million today to 14 million. By then, the youngest Vietnam veterans will be 82 and the youngest post-9/11 vets will be in their early 50s. Virtually all of the World War II generation and most of the Vietnam generation will have passed, and their numbers aren’t likely to have been replaced by the voluntary force that we have today.
Kayyem, Juliette. "Bring Veteran Services Into the Future." Boston Globe, November 11, 2012.