Honoring Our Heroes on Veterans Day

A group of soldiers hoisting the American flag

Every November 11, America comes together to honor the brave men and women who fearlessly dedicated their lives to defending our great country.

It is one day of the year dedicated to commemorating the years of service made by so many men and women around the nation.

Joining the military means taking a vow to put your country before yourself. It is an act that turns ordinary people in heroes. It requires the greatest bravery and the strongest humility. It is an act of love for one’s country and a passion for one’s people.

While fighting for our freedoms, many veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos, a deadly carcinogen. They were betrayed when the government failed to warn them of the potentially lethal long-term effects of asbestos exposure. And now, veterans are paying the ultimate price for America’s failure.

Too Many Veterans Develop Mesothelioma

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show veterans account for 30 percent of the estimated 3,000 people diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that results from prolonged asbestos exposure. That’s 900 veterans every year beginning another battle with an enemy within. This time, however, veterans are swapping their guns and helmets for chemotherapy and radiation.

Unfortunately, many of these veterans may not make it home. Approximately 3,000 veterans will die this year alone from an asbestos-related condition. That’s 3,000 people who selflessly fought for America and won’t celebrate another birthday, and 3,000 families whose lives will be torn apart by the loss of their loved ones.

When the courageous men and women around the U.S. joined the military, they never signed up for years of asbestos exposure. They never thought they would develop an asbestos-related condition decades down the road. And they certainly never imagined dying from an aggressive asbestos-caused cancer.

These heroes signed up to serve and protect the very livelihood of the people they love most and ensure everyone would have access to the things they need most: Food, water, shelter and health care.

How Can We Protect Our Veterans with Mesothelioma?

Now, it’s our turn to protect them so we can ensure every veteran has access to the medical resources they need, and the financial assistance to sustain their livelihood. Our veterans deserve better.

So today and every day, we support our veterans as we rally for their success and thank them for making our lives what they are today.

We ask you to call your local representatives and state legislators and explain that enough is enough. Asbestos must be banned.

For the veterans whose lives have been cast aside and for the thousands of Americans who could still develop mesothelioma, enough is enough.

Our veterans deserve better. We deserve better.


Cara is a childhood cancer survivor, daughter of a long-term breast cancer survivor, and she knows life as a caregiver. She is also a member of the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE leadership committee and a repeat team captain for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. Cara also frequently writes for HuffPost.

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