MT. LEBANON (KDKA) — There was plenty of fanfare today in the South Hills for the annual Memorial Day parade.
The event thanks those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, but thousands of troops who served and were badly injured or disfigured made sacrifices too and thoughts were with them as well.
“We would like for them to come back and talk to us and that there’s something that the post can do for them, we’re willing and able to do something for the vets [that are] returning,” Cephus Huff, a Korean War veteran, said.
New statistics show 45 percent of veterans from wars post 9/11 come back to the U.S. needing disability benefits.
And perhaps even more troubling – the amount of injuries this new group of veterans suffers is around 11 to 14 per vet. Compare that to Vietnam vets claiming fewer than four and those from World War II and the Korean War just two.
“It’s up to the older people to teach these young people about what they went through, especially today these young men coming back today with no limbs,” Carmen Vacca, a Korean War veteran, said. “I feel sorry for them.”
State Rep. Matt Smith says these veterans who are able bodied enough to integrate back into the work force should be welcomed with open arms.
“They’ve made the choice to defend our country and we owe it to them to do everything we can to make sure they have the resources when they return home to go right back into the employment market,” he said.
Government officials believe part of the rise in disability claims stems from veterans who might have been able to work with certain disabilities before may have to seek benefits now because they either lost their job or can’t find one.
These veterans empathize and are grateful for their service.