The last Monday of May means far more than just a day off from work and a long weekend. May 30th is Memorial Day — a time to remember all the fallen American soldiers who lost their lives in service to the United States.

In the United States, Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War, when ordinary American citizens took it upon themselves to place flowers by the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who had been killed in battle.

While many Americans now associate Memorial Day with parades, hot dogs and backyard barbecues, it’s important that all of us take a moment to pause and remember the true significance of the day.

The Battles Soldiers Face During and After War

From the American Revolution to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 1.2 million American soldiers have died fighting for and protecting freedom in the United States. The incredible sacrifices these servicemen and women made will forever echo through American history — and their bravery will continue to set an example for all American citizens to follow.

In addition to remembering the brave men and women in uniform who have died in battle this Memorial Day, we also honor U.S. veterans fighting for their lives as a result of service-related injuries. 

According to the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA), more than 200,000 men and women transition out of the military every year — and these veterans face no shortage of hardships upon retiring from active duty.

Roughly 33 percent of veterans suffer from chronic mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Additionally, more than 53 percent experience chronic physical health issues as a result of their service.

Physical Health Issues Faced by Veterans

Many of the ongoing physical health problems faced by veterans are due to injuries incurred during their time in military service.

Common service-related health conditions include:

  • Brain and head trauma from injuries sustained during military service
  • Diseases caused by exposure to toxic substances such as arsenic and asbestos 
  • Tinnitus and hearing loss due to exposure to loud explosions/noises
  • Wounds caused by shrapnel or gunshots

Incurable diseases such as cancer increasingly affect veterans. The VA Central Cancer Registry records roughly 50,000 cases of cancer among veterans each year. Mesothelioma — an especially lethal form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos — disproportionately affects veterans compared to the rest of the U.S. population. 

In fact, more than 30 percent of all new mesothelioma diagnoses each year belong to U.S. veterans. Veterans of the U.S. Navy suffer from mesothelioma at a particularly high rate due to the amount of asbestos exposure experienced on Navy ships.

Honoring Fallen Soldiers and Serving U.S. Veterans

This Memorial Day, it’s important to take time to reflect on the freedoms we all hold dear and appreciate how these freedoms were created and sustained. For decades, the brave men and women in uniform have put their lives on the line to serve and protect all Americans.

Simmons Hanly Conroy believes in supporting veterans and their loved ones, as well as the families of fallen soldiers. Our firm is dedicated to helping veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Simmons Hanly Conroy Chairman John Simmons is himself a U.S. military veteran, and many of the mesothelioma lawyers on staff have also served in the armed forces. We are familiar with the laws specific to military veterans, and we use our experience to fight for their rights every single day.

If you or a loved one are a veteran battling mesothelioma, we may be able to help. Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal case review.

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