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Veterans Impact Everything - The Past, Present & Future
Respect, Awareness and Service before Self.....
US Veterans represent less than 6% of the US population, yet they impact 100% of the population.
If you don’t know a Veteran, you certainly have been impacted by one. You may not be aware of the impact. You may not understand the impact. Whether you were born here or immigrated, you definitely live with the comforts they provide. From the free flow of ideas to the sports teams you cheer. From the voting booths to the three branches of government. From the water you drink, to the binge watchers of Netflix. From the information at your fingertips, to the legal halls of justice. From the white sand beaches of Pensacola to the peaks of the Grand Tetons northwest. From the church services on Sunday, to daily prayers to Allah. From the PTA meetings to the economic development organizations. From law enforcement to first responders. From lawyers, to pyramid schemers. From Wall Street to local town squares. From innovation centers to research laboratories.
The reason we have freedoms falls squarely on the shoulders of the people who put service before self. They come from every corner of this great nation. Some do it for a way out. Some volunteer. Some were drafted and had no choice. To all of them, service provides a purpose. A mission. A tribe. A sense of pride. A way of life. A dream. An outlet. A new skillset. A new pathway. Spend any time with these individuals and you will instantly know you are in the presence of someone different. Your everyday problems seem too trivial compared to the stories they tell. Glued to every word, you yearn for more details. You respect their honor. You respect their loyalty. You respect their commitment to good. You respect their “get it done” attitudes. You respect their practical solution mindsets.
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Veterans Day: Honoring All Those Who Served in the Military
Veterans Day is a federal holiday that falls on every November 11th. It is designated as a day to honor the more than 19 million men and women who have served in the U.S. military. It was first observed on November 11, 1919, as Armistice Day in honor of the first anniversary of the end of World War I, which officially ended on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918. In 1926, Congress called for an annual observance of the anniversary and by 1938 it was an official federal holiday. A few decades later, in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, as it is currently known today.
What is a VSO (Veteran Service Organization)?
Veteran Service Organizations support Veterans and their families. There are thousands of them, big and small. They focus on general assistance, to job creation, to building homes, to start-up ventures.
Here is a list of some Veteran Services Organizations (VSOs) in the United States:
Additionally, many universities and colleges have Veteran organizations which support, assist and promote the education of the individuals and families who have served. The transition from military to civilian is hard. These organizations help bridge the divide between the government and civilian worlds. Some organizations are successful, some are not. The private sector can play an enormous role in supporting Veterans. The first step is awareness.
The Transition: The Language Barrier
One of the hardest transitions for individuals to make is from US military service to the civilian workforce. There are a number of reasons. The job market is fragmented, knowledge by corporations of the military is limited, there is a lack of access to Veterans for corporations, and an overall lack of common language. Consequently, when Veterans are hired, they may be underutilized by employers or in the wrong positions aligned to their past and future potential. As a result, corporations have high rates of failure when hiring and providing proper career paths to military Veterans. This leads to a lack of purpose for the Veterans. A lack of purpose, or mission, could lead to poor family relationships and in some cases, suicide. Finding a mutual purpose within a corporation can actively reduce suicide rates, increase positive personal relationships, and provide strength and diversity to that corporation. That said, there are many successful businesses and organizations led by Veterans. Leadership matters. Experience matters. Skills and training matter. The military provides all of these in spades.
What can you do? What should you do?
Gratitude goes beyond a thank you. Take some time to appreciate the sacrifices. Listen to the stories. Learn from their stories. Take a walk in their shoes and reflect on what you have today. Their sacrifices made this possible. Freedom is not free.
Go do one or all of the things listed below…..
1) Attend a Veterans Day event. Visit a military museum, landmark, or monument.
2) Ask a veteran about their time in the military. Listen and reflect.
3) Display the U.S. flag in your home. Respect the country. Respect the citizenship.
4) Give time, treasure and networks to Veterans or VSOs. While you were drinking lattes and building business/community networks, they were watching your back.
6.) Watch “Thank You For Your Service.”
7.) Invest in a Veteran owned business.
8.) Pay it forward with a “give with no take” mindset.
9.) Hire a Veteran.
10.) Start a Veteran program inside your company.
11.) Start a business with a Veteran. Partner with a Veteran owned business.
For those individuals who have been impacted by Veterans, share your story. The awareness and insights you provide can led to positive change. While there are ~19M people who have served or are serving, there are 2-3X that number in families and extended families.
God bless America! We love you!