They have fought to defend the freedom many of us enjoy now.
But sadly, the toll of service for many of our veterans can be tremendous – for some, it can be too much.
If it’s not the mounting numbers of servicemen and women battling PTSD, then it’s those we hear of now living on the streets – or worse.
Take the story of Andy, the homeless veteran who was living in a tent in Hilsea a few weeks ago.
A picture of his sign, appealing for work (and note: not demanding money from passers-by) was shared on Facebook.
Within hours the image went viral and many went to his aid, helping him find a shelter and work. It was the epitome of Christmas spirit – albeit a few weeks early.
But what about those veterans living silently in our community, battling PTSD or loneliness over Christmas, with nobody to comfort them?
Shouldn’t we all have a responsibilty to watch out for them?
That is what The News is today asking our readers to consider.
We’re not asking the world of people – just for them to be neighbourly.
It can be as simple as chatting to an elderly veteran or checking up on a family member who has served in the forces.
As we report today, Christmas for many can be a difficult time, full of mixed emotions.
Some have desperate pangs of survivor’s guilt, remembering their comrades who may have died – but are too proud to speak out and talk to someone.
Charities – as amazing as they are – can only do so much.
Considering Hampshire has one of the largest veteran populations in the UK, the community should pull together to lend a support hand. So please, don’t leave our veterans out in the cold this winter.