Veterans Day hangover: last Friday’s Stand Down

Last week’s Veterans Day was an unusually poignant one, coming just a day after the memorial service for 12 soldiers and a civilian killed at Fort Hood by a man who, as far as we still know, was one of their own. Wednesday was marked by political speeches expressing love and gratitude for those who served our country.

A couple of days later, though, there was a less-ceremonial and all-too-real veterans day at Memorial Hall in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. There, the Heart of America Stand Down and its volunteers spent the day feeding warm meals to homeless vets, giving them haircuts and medical screenings and handing out warm clothes. Stand Down says that on any given night, there are 1,800 homeless vets in Kansas City.

The vets we talked to were in good spirits and appreciated the help they were getting. But after hanging out there for a little bit, you couldn’t help but wonder: If our nation’s really so grateful, why do we even have homeless vets? Anyway, click on the photo above for a slideshow from that afternoon, which might give a sense of what some veterans’ days are like the other 364 days of the year. 

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