Hire our veterans

Monday is Veterans Day and we will have one of our traditional editorials to salute everyone who fought in all of our country’s conflicts.

But today we’d like to concentrate on the face – and plight – of American veterans who have returned from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There was good news and bad news from those conflicts. The very bad news was that thousands of our troops have been maimed and disfigured by improvised explosive devices set up in ambushes.

The good news is that because of advances in traumatic treatment, they survived injuries that would have been fatal in earlier wars. The other good news is that plastic surgery and breakthroughs in prosthetics will allow many to regain much of the function and form the attacks took away.

The other bad news for all the veterans of these conflicts is that once they return to civilian life, the unemployment rate for them is higher than the general population.

Navy Times cites Bureau of Labor Statistics that puts post-9/11 veterans unemployment rate at 10 percent for August 2013. The overall rate for the country was 7.3 percent.

The Navy Times quotes Derek Bennett, chief of staff at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

“More than a single report, we know that too many post-9/11 veterans continue to struggle to find employment. We have made progress as a nation, but there is more we must do to support veterans’ transition from combat to career.”

There are efforts underway to translate military credentialing – specialized expertise – into experience in civilian jobs so veterans are not starting at the bottom of the pay scale. That should continue and be expanded.

But even more, we’d remind potential employers of the spirit these veterans will add to their workforce. These are people who have shown they are loyal and hardworking.

Their service to their country vouches for their character.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.