Nov. 11 is a holiday most people have grown to know and love as a day off from our busy schedules. We suffer through a dreaded work day and are awarded with a break the following day.

The specific day we are recognizing here is Veterans Day. The Equinox believes that the general population should go beyond thanking veterans on this special day. We believe a simple “thank you for your service” comment can be mistaken for empty platitude.

While we set aside a day to honor and remember our veterans, we need to realize that is not enough.

We believe that there needs to be a spotlight on the issue of how veterans are treated in this country and rather than just talk about it, we need to call for action.

Kyle Bailey / Photo Editor

Kyle Bailey / Photo Editor

Even though we hold an annual Veterans Day, this does not mean we as a society have done our duty to honor our veterans. We must not stop there in honoring their courage and valor.

According to veteransinc.org, the number of veterans as of September 2009 is roughly 23 million. Of that number, between 529,000 and 840,000 veterans experience homelessness at some point throughout the year.

These numbers show that a shocking number of veterans in our country are still suffering and need our help. Also, according to the website, approximately 33 percent of homeless males in the U.S. are veterans.

It is saddening for any person to experience being homeless. However, when such a high percentage of our homeless population is comprised of our veterans who put their lives on the line for our freedom, we need to become concerned.

The Equinox as a whole would like to argue that it is our civic duty to stand up for these people who compromised their freedom for our own. These men have strengthened our countries backbone.

Some ways that we can step up and try to put changes in place would be to start writing letters to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and suggest ideas or ways to help.

We need to fight for their benefits because it is the least we can do in return for what they’ve done for us. Before making empty decisions, research who you are voting for in the future. Find out what they have in place for our veterans.

It is far too easy to pass by someone who is blatantly a veteran and thank them for their service. We would argue that they hear this too often. Maybe next time if it’s appropriate, really get to know a veteran and take them out to coffee.

We believe that while this may seem like a nice gesture, it does not help them get benefits they deserve.

It is no surprise to most that military spending in the U.S. is massive compared to the rest of the world.

According to globalissues.org, “the U.S. has long been the principal determinant of the current world trend, often accounting for close to half of all the world’s military expenditure.”

If the United States is willing to spend such an overwhelming amount of money on military spending, we should also be willing to put a solid chunk of change toward helping give our veterans a more comfortable living environment.

The Equinox believes that if you are truly thankful for these people and their often times relentless service, you should do more than just thank them. You should raise your voice and better yet, lend a helping hand to get plans underway to create a better lifestyle for our nation’s true heroes.

In the future, we encourage you to do more than the bare minimum of thanking a veteran. Go out and make a difference so that next time you see a homeless veteran, you can know that you are fulfilling your duty as an American and fighting for their rights, just as they fought for yours.