The reason that I feel bitter is that I don't think America does enough to support our vets. We're great at big, public declarations about how grateful we are for their service on days like this, but we consistently let them down when it comes to actually putting their lives together and moving on from being a soldier. It's shameful.
We lionize the "warrior," but neglect the actual person. The VA left over 120,000 soldiers who either never got the care they needed, or had to wait far too long to get it. Some died waiting to get a doctor's appointment, and I don't know if we'll ever know just how many.
Soldiers are prepared for danger, but it recently came out that the American government exposed them to dangers they were never made aware of. Although we never found the "weapons of mass destruction," there were degraded chemical weapons caches. Over 600 soldiers were injured by exposure to these weapons, and the scope of the problem was never acknowledged.
Beyond that, returning soldiers face endemic homelessness and mental health issues. They serve, but are never given the tools they need to return to a normal life. Even those that aren't diagnosed officially with PTSD are bound to have some issues after spending a tour of duty in a war zone, but they're expected to have a joyous reunion with their families and their dogs and slip back into society like they never left. Some manage it; some don't. There is a stigma attached to mental health issues that the military must do more to combat. I think a great step would be to require some kind of exit counseling for returning soldiers, and make mental health services both more available and more appealing once they return.
A vast amount of money and resources goes into fighting wars; we need to put significantly more into helping our soldiers once they return.