A recently discharged Army veteran who served in Iraq puts his arms around an 84-year old woman who was disoriented after being sprayed in the face with pepper spray. Seventy-one year old Vietnam veteran speeds to Zuccotti Park when he heard that the encampment was being evicted. The first two casualties of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests were former soldiers. In a tragic comment, a 35-year old veteran who had been treated for mental illness chose to end his life at a Vermont Occupy event.
As Occupy Wall Street continues to grow, more veterans are coming forward to support the movement and use the skills learned on the front lines to protect those exercising the freedom of speech they fought for. Veterans Today, an online publication, has been showing its readers how income disparity, a key issue for OWS, has hurt veterans, calling out “Wall Street crooks.”
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) say veterans are the 99%, and therefore have been one of the most active group of veterans supporting the movement. IVAW led a march on November 2, 2011, from Vietnam Veterans Plaza that passed in front of the New York Stock Exchange before culminating at Liberty Plaza in New York City.
The march stopped for a moment of silence at Trinity Church to honor Scott Olsen, a Marine veteran who was injured and hospitalized at Occupy Oakland. The veterans wanted to draw attention to the needs of veterans as thousands leave the service.
The veterans carried signs saying, “Still Serving My Country.”
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