Bill Nelson

Waiting over 150 days for a disability rating from the VA is not an obligation met. Assignment to a mental health clinician with 900 patients is not an obligation met either.

However, it's not just the government who represents all of us in this obligation to our troops. Each one of us is on the "hook" to do our part.

The banker or loan officer who robo-forecloses on a deployed soldier's home in violation of the law has failed all of us in our mutual duty. The employer who doesn't keep the job that the National Guardsman left when activated (in violation of the law), fails for all of us. But what can we do?

First, we can let everyone know that we won't tolerate behavior that violates the statutory rights of our service members. If you find that you are doing business with say, a lender, who has repeatedly wronged military personnel, you can take your account elsewhere. Second, if you have time and skills, you can volunteer to assist at a variety of clinics and medical facilities that treat veterans and active duty personnel. You can take a page from the First Lady Michelle Obama's Joining Forces program and get your community involved with the military families living in your town.

Research a military charity that actually helps the troops and donate-both your money and your time. Bottom line--you can do so much more than just watch the Veteran's Day parade, or, God forbid, go to the mall.

Don't let this Veteran's Day 2011, like the parade in Hell-O Dolly just "pass you by". Take your citizen's obligation to honor and support our veterans seriously-not just on this one day-but every day.

Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson is Executive Director at USA Cares.