MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - If you haven't thanked a veteran for their service to our nation, now is the time.
Thousands of people celebrated Veteran's Day across the Mid-South. Hundreds of veterans marched down Second Street to praise and cheers of thanks in downtown Memphis. Clay Andrus was just one of the many faces in the crowd.
“Just growing up in a military environment you appreciate what they do,” Andrus said.
Andrus' father served as a Navy fighter pilot during World War II and the Korean War. Years ago his father did not receive a warm reception like this.
“The 60's and 70's and all the mess that we went through I don't think they were appreciated, it's nice to see that changing,” Andrus said.
Veteran Ronald Bowman told abc24.com, "Hearing people walk up to you and say thank you for serving our country, never gets old, I love it."
But beyond the fanfare of the parade and the patriotism it invokes, veterans are facing big challenges, namely employment.
While the national unemployment rate hovers just below eight percent, the unemployment rate for male veterans is just above nine. For female veterans it’s just above 15 percent.
“Some soldiers need some adjustment from the war back to peace time and that may affect their employability,” said Lt. Col. Randy Heyward.
While veterans may have to take the initiative on that, Lt. Colonel Heyward says we should meet them half way.
“I'd just like the business community and nation in general to remember the veterans after the war. We often remember them during the war but we need the country's support after the war,” he said.
While a parade and a pat on the back is good, more tangible support for veterans could be a better way to show our appreciation.