Veterans Day is observed on Monday, November 12th. This a great time to thank veterans for their service in an upbeat and positive manner. I always get a little awkward when someone says “thank you” on Memorial Day. Of course they mean well; however, Memorial Day is a time of remembrance for those veterans who laid down their lives for our country. It’s more of a somber day to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that was made. Rather than offer a verbal thank you, we thank the fallen in our hearts. As such, I acknowledge their appreciation and respectfully share the true meaning of Memorial Day. However, on Veterans Day you can proudly provide handshake and a sincere “thank you”.

Since the end of the draft back in ’73, every veteran is 100% a volunteer. Now, service is service whether you were drafted or volunteered. However, it says a lot about our country that we can support a military of 2M+ people who are all volunteers (active duty and reserves combined). Think about what it means to voluntarily join the military and serve. You really do make a sacrifice, I mean you put your civilian life on hold for a minimum of 4 years, raise your hand and take an oath that binds you to doing exactly what you’re told every day, endure a grueling basic training, go where you are sent when you are told, do the job your are assigned and trained for (lucky to see your family once a year), work in the most austere conditions possible, and if necessary, you are required to lay down your life for your country. That, and much more is what today’s veterans “volunteered” for. For those who do not make it a career, they are a minimum four years behind their cohorts concerning college or otherwise which is another challenge in some ways. I did two enlistments, and so did not graduate college until I was 31. I was a new hire management trainee at FedEx Express at JFK where I was older than most of my managers. No complaints. I would do it again, no questions asked, just sharing the experience.

So, maybe this little article will give you a fresh perspective for Veterans Day 2018. With that, may I ask that you simply think about that veteran who you know and what he or she willingly did for you, for all of us. Deep down, we believe that being a veteran means something extraordinary, that our sacrifice was worth it, we are very proud of our service. We don’t want something for nothing, we earn what we get, always have, always will. What we do ask is that when you consider hiring or retaining one of us, you see past the formalities of the interview process and resume. See the character of a person who willingly volunteered to lay down their lives for our freedom. To honestly do this you have to stop and really look, listen, and reflect accordingly. Then after careful consideration, always make the best decision as you see fit. It does not not mean hire automatically, not at all. The right fit in and for the organization has to be the ultimate decision. Just know that all veterans fight a tough battle transitioning back to the civilian world. Whenever possible, help them lighten the load. And Thank You to all you veterans out there!