RE “IS Walmart’s offer good for veterans?” by Juliette Kayyem (Op-ed, Jan. 17): Walmart’s initiative to employ more than 100,000 returning veterans is nothing but praiseworthy. With unemployment for veterans hovering around 11 percent, anything we can do to reintegrate them into the workforce would be beneficial to our economy, the companies, and our returning veterans, who have already sacrificed so much for us.
After Sept. 11, 2001, like many in my generation, I felt a call to give back. I volunteered for the Army and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. When my tours ended, I was in Kabul one day and Concord the next. My reintegration was jarring and isolating.
Beyond the bullets and bombs, it is the lack of companionship and purpose that makes the transition home so difficult for service members. Whether one is working in the boardroom or on the retail floor, a day’s work provides a much-needed sense of purpose and belonging for those coming home from the battlefield. Some veterans will find purpose in what Kayyem derides as an $8-an-hour job, and with that opportunity some may rise through the ranks of the store or corporate headquarters. I see Walmart’s initiative as more than a gimmick, and hope it will inspire other companies to provide similar opportunities to veterans.
The writer is a former US Army captain.