Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans:  persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day, by President Eisenhower in 1954. 

Whether your organization employs hundreds of military veterans, a few veterans or is just now starting to attract and hire veterans, celebrating Veterans Day is a unique opportunity to enhance your commitment to supporting those who wore our Nation’s uniform. There are many ways to honor and celebrate the men and women in your company or community who have served in the military. Military.com suggests 4 or 5 ways. The veterans who support my candidacy for the US Senate offer a few more. Let me suggest that your organization might consider marking the occasion of Veterans Day 2017 by doing one of the following:   

1Treating them to a treat. Consider honoring and recognizing veterans at your company by hosting a lunch or a casual reception in their honor.

2. Inviting civilian colleagues to learn about your veterans’ military experiences, show their appreciation for the veteran employees’ military service and build camaraderie among the teams. This can be a team building event for your organization. 

3Recognizing them. Does your company have an internal newsletter or other forms of internal communications? Perhaps highlight the experiences of several veteran employees, showing their successful transition, emphasizing their transferable skills (from military to their civilian careers), and their hobbies, families and interests. Such an effort reinforces the value veterans bring to the civilian workplace.

4. Sharing their stories. With respect and sensitivity, share the story of a few of the veterans who work for and with you. Oftentimes, civilians are intimidated to inquire about the career choice to serve in uniform, and this is an opportunity to show what military service is like, the challenges and accomplishments of your veteran employees, and the sacrifices made to ensure our Nation’s liberties. 

5. Serving the family. Honoring the families of those who served—through simple recognition—builds a very positive organizational culture.  The last line of the poem “On His Blindness,” by John Milton goes, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” In that line, the poet reflects that he has a place in God's world despite his disability. Many of our veterans also need that affirmation. Perhaps nowhere is this line more appropriate than with the families of veterans who served behind the scenes supporting your service member employees. Find a way to say “Thank-you” to them as well.

6. Serving the community. Every community has veteran service organizations (VSOs) whose focus is to provide support to military veterans and families. These VSOs focus on issues from PTSD to suicide prevention to career transition services to temporary housing to equine therapy and everything in between. There is no shortage of organizations positively impacting the post-military life of the service member. Engaging your team in volunteering to build a house for a veteran, providing on-site coaching at a workforce center, or handing out supplies at a veteran homeless shelter brings to light the issues facing our veterans, and can raise appreciation for their service with your civilian team members.

7. Making a Donation. Larger organizations might want to make a contribution in the name of your veteran employees to The Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Purple Heart Foundation, The Wounded Warriors Foundation, The American Legion, or some other worthy veterans organization in your community. Ask your veteran employees which organizations they support.

8. Simply saying “Thank-you.” It has become politically correct for anyone to say to a service member or a veteran, “Thank-you for your service.” If you are one to have said this in the past, how did it come across?  Was it a perfunctory, knee jerk comment (even those are appreciated) or did you convey the sentiment that you really meant it?

9. If you do nothing else on this special day, take 4 minutes and 16 seconds and listen to Trace Adkins’ “Arlington.” You can find it at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJO7lJIxG10. Just paste it in your browser. Memorial Day traditionally honors those who died while in military service and Veterans Day honors both the living and the dead. This video is more than appropriate for either day.

As your candidate for the republican nomination of the US Senate I look forward to defeating Senator Donnelly and being your proxy voice for ensuring that our veterans are never forgotten, that our 49,000 homeless veterans are supported, and that our military services have the necessary funds not only to wage war when necessary but even more importantly to preserve the peace.