The country is gearing up for what I’ve always considered our most important holiday, Veterans Day.
In Southwest Florida, businesses will be offering vets free meals, massive discounts, stand-downs with job placement advice and free medical care, free admission to movies and events — and of course there will be parades.
Click here for a comprehensive national listing of veteran discounts.
Each year the celebration seems to get bigger.
It’s a great trend — a far cry from the way things used to be.
I’d like to see this pro-veteran celebratory mood continue throughout the year.
It shouldn’t end after Saturday.
There are a couple things — two to be exact — that if embraced will mean a lot more to our veterans on a long-term basis than a free breakfast or discounted movie tickets.
First, we need to end this media-fueled stereotype that says veterans are a fragile lot — that they’re all suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.
Of course there are vets who struggle with PTS. Some resort to unhealthy methods to self-medicate away the pain. Others, tragically, end up overcome by it.
However, the vast majority of vets are not affected by PTS. They’re fine. They were hardened and tempered by their military service. A few even enjoyed the extreme nature of the challenges they faced downrange.
This is the real narrative that needs to get out.
This is the truth people need to know.
The false narrative — the pity-the-poor-veteran mentality — is complete BS.
Hire for the right reasons
I’ve encountered some businesses who treat veterans like they’re some kind of quota or commodity.
“We have X-number of employees and X-number are veterans.”
A good employer — an employer who’s truly switched-on — hires veterans because they understand they’re getting someone who’s far superior to any job candidate who’s only pissed civilian water.
You see, veterans are a sweet deal for employers.
They’re chock-full of leadership skills — a byproduct of their service.
After all, one does not manage a fire team, squad or ODA into harm’s way. They lead them. It takes real leadership.
Also, vets are poised and nearly unflappable — especially the GWOT vets.
Whatever the business crisis — whatever the boardroom drama — it’s nothing when compared to what our young men and woman faced and overcame overseas on a daily basis.
These vets are capable of incredible outside-the-box thinking, and they have a sense of honor that’s second to none.
If you want proof, take a look at the success of most veteran-owned and operated business. They’re positively thriving because the owners are using the tactics and skills they developed in the military. They take care of their employees and the owners lead from the front. It’s an incredible business model.
Mark my words, today’s veterans will become tomorrow’s captains of industry … if they’re given a chance.
Seek them out.
It makes smart business sense.
It’s also a great way to keep the spirit of Veterans Day alive throughout the year.