For the last 20 years, Americans have lived in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. That day marked one of the most consequential terrorist attacks in the history of mankind, and a turning point in the history of our nation.
The events of 9/11 sparked decades of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and prompted new generations to enlist in the fight for freedom.
That fight has taken a tremendous toll.
The Cost of War
According to the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, more than half a million people have been killed in the United States’ post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, not including just as many deaths from the war in Syria, which the US joined in August 2014.
Data from the Associated Press breaks down the human cost of these wars:
- American service members killed in Afghanistan through April: 2,448
- U.S. contractors: 3,846
- Afghan national military and police: 66,000
- Other allied service members, including from other NATO member states: 1,144
- Afghan civilians: 47,245
- Taliban and other opposition fighters: 51,191
- Aid workers: 444
- Journalists: 72
We may never know the total direct death toll in these wars. Tens of thousands of civilians may have died in retaking Mosul and other cities from ISIS but their bodies have likely not been recovered. Indirect deaths as a consequence of loss of access to food, water, health facilities, electricity or other infrastructure in war zones are also hard to tally.
Veterans of these wars need our help, too. According to the Washington Post, more than half of the 2.6 million veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now suffer from physical or mental health problems as a result of their service.
Hope After War
While these wars raged on, The Veterans Site was created to support these new veterans and veterans of past wars as well as active duty military.
Helping Deployed Soldiers Save Animals
In Syria it is common for dogs and cats to suffer from abuse and neglect. Many animals are free roaming with no families to turn to for help. If an animal is lucky enough to find its way to a U.S. base and is befriended by the soldiers, then the base becomes the animals’ home and finds love for the first time in its life.
Greater Good Charities partners with Puppy Rescue Mission (PRM) to help these animals as it would be devastating to turn them back out into the wild when many have never known a different way of life.
PRM responds to soldiers requests for help by transporting their animal companions. Costs constantly change as a result of working in a war zone, in a third-world country, and at a great distance. Any dog or cat has to have a thorough medical exam, vaccinations, and a health certificate to be able to transport. Each animal also has to have a kennel or crate to transport them safely while flying.
Donations from supporters of The Veterans Site have helped feed these rescued pets, as well as cover vaccinations, health certificates, and transportation out of dangerous territory.
Care Packs For Homeless Veterans & Their Pets
Homelessness is a major problem affecting America’s veterans. Due to a lack of affordable housing, limited post-service job opportunities, and inadequate care for veterans with physical or mental conditions, tens of thousands of men and women who once heroically protected our country now find themselves in poverty on American streets, needing assistance for even basic essentials until they can get back on their feet.
Many animals provide emotional support and comfort to veterans, yet the responsibility can bring added stress to a veterans’ life. Care Packs offered by GreaterGood are helping homeless veterans and their beloved pets by providing essential items Veterans need, as well as things that come in handy when taking care of an animal.
Each pet pack includes items to help a homeless veteran care for their pet and helps to create an even stronger bond between them.
Perfectly Paired: Shelter Dogs for Veterans
Both our veterans and shelter animals have been through traumatic events, but together they can help each other heal. When a Veteran is matched with the right pet, both lives change for the better. The Veteran saves the animal and welcomes him/her into a loving home. The pet provides unconditional love and support, easing stress, depression, loneliness and anxiety.
Many of our brave soldiers have returned home with physical and emotional injuries that have made it difficult to transition back to normal civilian life. Medical studies have shown that companion animals significantly improve mental and physical health, reducing stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms experienced by many serving in the military. According to the ASPCA, 6-8 million dogs and cats are abandoned at shelters in the U.S., and more than half of these animals are euthanized because there is no one to adopt them. Providing a veteran with a dog betters their life in many ways, and it also gives a dog a second chance to have a forever home.
Greater Good Charities partners with Pets for Vets to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing each one with a shelter dog specifically matched to his or her personality. They have made over 350 Veteran-pet matches, and the stories from our Veterans illustrate the positive impact their trained companion pets are having on their lives.
Thanks to your donations, we have helped thousands of veterans overcome their challenges, get back on their feet, and move forward with hope after decades of war. But many more veterans still need help.
We must never forget the victims of 9/11 victims. Click below to take the 9/11 Pledge honoring those who perished in the attacks as well as their families who still mourn them today.Whizzco