Thursday, November 11, 2010
A significant number of the 235,000 veterans living in San Diego County are new veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VA Medical Center in San Diego reports more than 26,000 of those newer veterans are enrolled with them. Approximately half of returning veterans seek medical help from the VA, so an estimated 50,000 recent vets could be living in San Diego.
Josh Biesiada is a student veteran enrolled at San Diego State University. He served for seven years in the army and was deployed twice to Iraq. He says he does not plan to attend the parade today. He’s always thought of Veterans’ Day as being about the older generation.
“When I think of Veterans Day, I think of my grandfather," he said. "I think of my uncle, they were both in Vietnam. I consider myself a veteran but I don’t consider Veterans Day to be about me. Maybe it just hasn’t really set in that I’m a veteran. Maybe I feel like they’re more deserving. Not that I’m saying that we present-day veterans aren’t deserving of some kind of recognition, but me personally...I just don’t feel like celebrating it yet I guess.”
Biesiada says it took him almost two years after he was discharged from the army before he was ready to take advantage of his G.I. Benefits. He is now a senior and hopes to graduate next year.