Edelman, a leading marketing research firm, released a study on Thursday that suggests that the vast majority of Americans look at veterans as being “heroes”, but don’t view them to be “assets” when it comes to their role in regular society.
The study's report speculates that the widespread viewing of veterans as “heroes” may have created a sort of “emotional distance between veterans and civilians making it difficult for community members to connect with veterans and see them as potential colleagues.”
Edelman’s study was conducted with more than 2,000 employers and civilians from October 12 to November 12 of last year. It found that 84 percent of employers and 75 percent of civilians look at veterans as being "heroes."
On the flip side, only 26 percent of employers and 22 percent of civilians look at veterans as being “strategic assets” in their community.
Some have wondered if the term "hero" has undergone a dramatic devaluation, with nearly all military personnel being deemed one. The term is also believed to create unfair expectations on the part of veterans.
While jobless rates for veterans have decreased in recent years, many question the quality of employment that veterans have received.
Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour, a mental health non-profit for veterans, commented, “The issue is about long-term job fit, advancement, retention. Is the veteran given the same look as others?"
The divide between average Americans and members of the military has frequently been pointed out by prominent members of the military and civil society alike.
In 2010, Admiral Mike Mullen stated, "America doesn't know its military and the United States military doesn't know America."
Previous studies by the Bush Institute and Pew Research only further confirm the validity of the findings discovered by Edelman.