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African American History Month has ended, and while the official celebration is over, our contributions
to society don't end on any given particular day. Likewise, our African American service members
continue to contribute and make history, even after they take off their uniforms for the last time.

Today, a group of young men and women, many of them veterans, will stand up and pledge to “get
things done for America”. They will join a legion of more than 750,000 Americans who have served in
AmeriCorps and become the first class to also serve as VetCorps members.

Throughout time, a community has often determined the success or failure of its members. A youth’s environment shapes the adult they will become, so it is critical that young people are surrounded by positive role models and caring adults in a nurturing community.

Growing up, I had dreams of what my future would look like. But reality taught me that achieving a dream and building a future is a learning process and can't be done alone.

As America's heroes return from deployments abroad and transition back into civilian life, many are facing challenges in finding employment. With the unemployment rate among recently returned veterans hovering around 12 percent, these men and women who volunteered to courageously serve our country should not have to return home with bleak opportunities in sight.

As America's heroes return from war zones and transition back into civilian life, many are facing
challenges finding work. Last month, more than over 857,000 veterans were unemployed, and the
jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans is 13.1 percent.

Many years ago, I stepped off a plane from Iraq and onto the tarmac at Pope Airfield in Fort Bragg, NC.
The scene was filled with open arms, cheers, the sound of muffled grunts of joy as weeping kids
jumped into the arms of their parents, and spouses' soft cries of love and longing. The sounds of
reunions were deafening as they bounced off the high walls of the hangar -- it was a sound that I
welcomed, and remember to this day.

Of the 130,000 veterans in Idaho, more than 30,000 are registered with the Idaho Department of Labor
to receive employment resources and job training. Budget cuts, however, have put this program in

On Veterans Day, thousands of veterans around the country will spend their time doing what they know
how to do best: serve others selflessly.

The transient nature of military life can make life difficult for students in military families, and many are
stationed at Fort Leonard Wood for less than two years or experience parental deployment. They often
have challenges with making new friends, fitting into social groups, and connecting with the


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