By KIRO 7 STAFF
A crowd applauded for the military color guard and saluted to the strains of the national anthem, but this Memorial Day celebration in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood honors veterans who are living on the streets.
Veterans like Franklin Jay Gasper, a Navy Seabee for 17 years, has been homeless, he said, for a decade.
“And being 72, it’s kind of hard to live nowadays,” said Gasper. “And when you’re broke, it don’t help.”
Navy veteran Robert Lane is also homeless.
“I’ve never been homeless before this,” he said, adding he needs medical help, too,” Lane said.
“Right now, I have a leg that’s infected,” he said. “But I’m not getting any help through the Veterans Administration.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told the veterans: “That by the end of 2016, there will not be a veteran who is homeless in this city or this state.”
So KIRO 7 asked how he plans to keep that pledge.
“The resources are there,” said Murray. “In many cases when it comes to veterans who are homeless, it’s not getting them connected to the resources.”
Obviously, everyone at the ceremony was not a homeless veteran.
But if the mayor of Seattle hopes to serve up homes for the veterans who don’t have them, the large number of people is sobering proof that he and the City of Seattle still have their work cut out for them.
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