By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka the PRDude)
On this Memorial Day 2018, with weather in Chicago much more suited to Independence Day, I struggled for a relevant commentary, for some poignant message to communicate in this space appropriate for this national holiday.
I have experience in this subject.
Last year, I wrote about a small monument in the Logan Square neighborhood, a community in the midst of revitalization and change now best defined as gentrification. And, in 2015, the PRDude reported on a memorial to Polish service men from St. Hyacinth parish in Avondale.
One thread between those two posts and this one: Milwaukee Avenue, my favorite street in the world.
Here’s why: Yesterday, I came across the shopping cart noted in the image above on the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, an arterial thoroughfare that connects Logan Square to Avondale and beyond. I have no idea who controls this rag-tag device, filled with aluminum cans and personal possessions.
Could this be the belongings of a U.S. serviceman? Or a servicewoman?
Today, I read a news article that reported servicemen and women who get discharged for non-serious offenses are discriminated against when trying to return to the workforce.
That led me to search for some insight on those U.S. veterans who — despite serving their country — have not been able to land meaningful employment, find a place to live and assimilate into civilian life and society. On the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans site, I learned staggering statistics on the plight of too many veterans today.
That led to this thought: On this day when we honor the men and women who served in our armed forces to let us live in a free land — one facing challenges, but fundamentally free — too many veterans are discarded and compelled to homelessness.
Perhaps some maintain their possessions in a shopping cart along a stretch of some street in America, like Milwaukee Avenue.
So, on Memorial Day 2018, I offer thoughts of honor to those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. But I also think we should do more — much more — to honor those veterans searching for the road that leads to the America they fought for.