Young men and women who enlist in the armed services leave their homes, often just after high school, and are off on their mission: keeping America safe and protecting our interests, defending democracy and putting down conflict around the world.
Those deployed to active war zones may come back physically injured or mentally traumatized. And even if they manage to escape grave harm, the lives they come back to aren't the ones they left. Their friends have moved on to their own lives. There may have been strain on their relationships while they were gone.
And they've changed, too: their military discipline has given them drive and determination, but opportunities may be limited. They may need education or specialized training to compete in today's job market. They may choose to go back to college, and be older and have demands the average undergraduate doesn't have to face, or not be able to afford tuition.
These men and women have sacrificed and given the best years of their lives for their country. And now, they deserve our encouragement, appreciation and assistance to help them lead fulfilling, rewarding civilian lives.