A Veteran’s Perspective on Veterans Day

I usually sit down to write this blog a week before Veterans Day to talk about the value of hiring military veterans and working with veteran-owned companies. This year though, is different. In October, the veteran unemployment rate hit a very low 2.7 percent, down from 4.3 percent this time last year – all great news! More veterans than ever before are landing career jobs as they transition into civilian life. HicksPro is headed into our 39th year in business and we are proud to have had a small impact on this number over the past six years.

So instead of beating a dead horse by preaching the value of veteran employment, I figured I would give my perspective on what this veteran wants on Veterans Day. I also have a small favor to ask of you on your Veterans Day. “Thank you for your service” — I hear this sentiment a lot and always appreciate it. But honestly, this is a little uncomfortable for me. It makes it sound like I deliberately set out to serve and protect and that was on the forefront of my mind when I joined. I wish I could say that, but honestly it isn’t true. The fact is, it was more like I had to do it and that feeling was there since I can remember. Call it the warrior spirit, the danger gene, whatever. I felt like I was a passenger on a wave of destiny that I couldn’t get off.

But over the course of the nine years I spent on active duty, my reason for why I was doing what I was doing changed. Most civilians have a hard time understanding why we would want to experience combat — it is after all a voluntary service and we volunteer to fight. It is a rush for sure, winning the ultimate game is addicting. But when the adrenaline wears off, brothers are killed or hurt, the sheen wears off. The more I saw, the more I did, the more I appreciated what was waiting for me back home. Ultimately, I gained a new appreciation for being born in the United States of America. There became a sense of duty in that I was determined not to allow savages to get to America. My mantra was to find and eliminate them there, on their home turf, so we didn’t have to fight them here.

In order to protect America, we have to first appreciate the incredible opportunity we have living here. The problem I see now is that an entitlement scourge in our society has become a national character flaw. It is a wet blanket holding back all the potential of ourselves, our brothers and sisters. There is a lack of appreciation for what we have as Americans. It effects every generation, every ethnicity, every sexual orientation, everything and everybody. Citizens taking America for granted is really hard for veterans to see. We don’t have to like everything, agree with everything or support everything. But don’t we have to at least appreciate what we have over being born somewhere else?

Most Americans can’t imagine how horrible 95 percent of the people in this world live. Most Americans cannot fathom what a human can and will do to another human unless you have seen it, smelled it and felt it first-hand. If more Americans were able to experience these things, we would all be a better, stronger and closer nation.

As a veteran, what I want on Veterans Day is not appreciation for me. I never did what I did seeking the appreciation of others. What I want is to see is appreciation for our country, for what we have here. I want others, just for one day, to look around, breathe in and appreciate this country as much as I do.

So my favor to ask is whatever your plans are, to take a few minutes to appreciate America for what it is. Appreciate the good and the bad. Take a knee and look your kids in the eyes and tell them how lucky they are to have been born in this country. I know people want to thank veterans for their service on this day. But if you really want to make a veteran feel great on Veterans Day, try saying this: “Thank you…I am proud to live in America and I love being an American.”

There are 2 comments .

  • Rebekah Horesh

    This is so insightful and well said.

  • Rebekah Horesh

    This is so insightful and well said. I wish every person in our country would read and comprehend this.


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The Navy SEAL Foundation is committed to maintaining a resilient, sustainable, and healthy force into perpetuity. At the same time, this same commitment runs strong in helping those who have served this country with honor and distinction transition as they began a new chapter of their life.