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Marine veteran says the best way to honor vets 'is by listening to them'

Saturday, November 11, is Veterans Day -- a holiday that honor those who've served in the U.S. armed forces. Take Two reached out to listeners to find out how they plan to honor the special vets in their life.

John Motter, Marine Corps veteran

John Motter is a Koreatown resident who's a veteran himself. Motter was in the Marine Corps from 2007 to 2011, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently works with Ground Game L.A., a civic engagement community in Hollywood.

"Honoring veterans, I just ask that we don't get tokenized. Don't just continue to use us a political prop. I don't need to see politicians saying:

'This is disrespectful towards veterans.'

Whatever it is, how about you ask a veteran what they think about it? That's really the biggest way I feel like we can honor our veterans is by listening to them."

Jessica Salans 

Jessica Salans is one of John Motter's close friends. She and John work together closely with the organization Ground Game L.A. She explained why it's important to honor her friend and veteran in her life, John Motter.

"What John has brought to the table at Ground Game is educating all of us about the military-industrial complex and how it appears in our local day to day life. And it makes me want to honor veterans not just on a single day, but every day through this community advocacy work on the local level. And I'm really grateful to have him in my life."

Kenneth James, Marine Corps veteran trying to leave Skid Row

Kenneth James is a disabled Marine Corps Corporal. He's been homeless for years as a result of his condition and is currently residing in a low-income room on Skid Row. But he's trying to improve his situation. 

"For a long time I used to have to ride the train and the bus, and I'd run into a lot of people that would say, 'Oh, thank you for your service.'"

James explained that this seemingly kind gesture would upset him because it felt angry. He felt like the people saying it didn't truly care about his condition as a disabled veteran. He also suffers from depression, PTSD and anxiety, he said.

"Instead of saying, 'Thank you for your service,'" James urges, "maybe if they find out someone's a veteran, maybe ask how they're doing."

To listen to all three of veteran stories, click the blue play button above.