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Peace at home comes at a price. On this episode of Craig Greiwe’s podcast, The World According to Craig, he sits down with Staff Sergeant Dustin Holcomb to have a candid conversation about what it’s like to be in the military, to return to society, and how we the public can actually, really support our vets. Society is filled with glossy portraits of activity duty, and we wrap ourselves in flags of patriotism, but we rarely find the time to have an honest, raw conversation about what lies just below the surface for millions of people who devoted their lives to military service. This podcast dives deeper.

An oft-talked-about but seldom acted upon topic is the obligation we have as a society to create a comprehensive re-entry program for all those who serve our country.

“The cost of freedom is real, tangible and steep,” explains SSG Holcomb. “We who return home and pay the interest on that cost for the rest of our lives.”

We spend years turning veterans into weapons, but we spend no time helping them re-enter society.

With all they do, and the frankly unimaginable experiences they go through that replay in their minds long after service is over, more should be done to ensure that burdens of war are shouldered by entities other than the women and men brave enough to enlist. The podcast discusses how we live in a country where we stop at “thank you for your service,” but the reality is our veterans need more than our gratitude.

But as regular civilians, what can we do? Everyday Americans are sometimes at a loss for how you even begin to address a veteran. How do you thank or talk to someone who’s had an experience you will never be able to understand? The reality is that simply asking them how they’re doing, talking to them about their lives, the simple pleasantries of life are how you start. Engage with veterans as real people; be honest, be genuine and be inspired.

Before you say “Thank you for your service” again, watch this episode. It may just inspire something in you to help be a part of making a civic change so badly needed for the underserved veterans of our communities.

LA Weekly