A poll finds the public has high regard for the military. Photo/Getty Images

Military ranks highest in public esteem – but veteran says they need more support

In a recent Pew Research study, which rated the public esteem of various professions, the military still tops the list of 10 occupational groups. More than three-quarters of U.S. adults, or 78 percent, say that members of the armed services contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being — a slight decline from 84 percent four years ago — the last time the Pew Research Center conducted the same study.

Teachers, medical doctors, scientists and engineers, are the professions that follow closely behind as being occupations which contribute a lot to society. Journalists, business executives and lawyers rank lowest on the list.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

With less than .5 percent of the U.S. population serving in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II, being in the military has also become a rare profession.

“It isn’t that easy to get into the military… you really have to pass difficult examinations before enlisting,” says Xiomara Sosa, a mental health counselor and U.S. Air Force and Army veteran. “In addition, military personnel must maintain their psychological, emotional, and mental well-being in order to sustain the high demand of that duty requires.”

She says the sense of honor and pride that the military teaches also becomes ingrained in military service men and women.

“We still do more by 9am than most people do their entire day,” says Sosa. “I still wake up at 5am. Our work is still executed in a very mission-focused style, no room or tolerance for distractions, nonsense or pettiness. It never goes away. And this provides such a satisfying state of well-being, a sense of accomplishment, of duty and honor. All those things can only serve to promote positive and healthy mental health and self esteem. You know what you do matters.”

However, she feels that the high esteem from the American public is not often demonstrated to the military and veterans.

“It is part of the disconnect that veterans feel with civilians when they reintegrate into society,” says Sosa. “They come back evolved as individuals, changed, with shifts in their paradigms due to their extraordinary experiences. Civilians don’t usually get that. Also, especially with combat veterans, the general public seems to have no basic idea of what the military members sacrifice, especially in times of conflicts, to keep them free and safe. It can be frustrating to recognize that in the general public. It feels like much is taken for granted or undervalued.”

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