How to make every day Veterans Day

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.

Hire veterans.

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.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

1 Comment

  1. John Lloyd Scharf on

    Not all of us lead a fire team. If you work 84 to 112 hour work weeks for months on end and don’t have PTSD in some form, you walk on water. However, if you want someone who is persistent, diligent, and educated with a proven work record, work ethic, you’d be surprised how the shock of separation from service ends that.

    I was separated on a Monday and went to work as a psychiatric aide on Thursday. I worked with a former Marine who had PTSD and he was working an 80 hour work week with schizophrenics and alcoholics right off the street.

    I told my boss on a “Friday,” not to call me for overtime because I was going out drinking. I nearly broke a toe answering the phone. He said he desperately needed me. I told him I would smell like alcohol. He said to come. The shift was low on people. When you work with people like that Marine, you would be ashamed not to go to give them a break. I was just working the summer before going to college, but work habits are hard to break.

    Yes. Maybe I am an outlier, but hard workers inspire hard working. You do not stay home because you have the sniffles. A Vet likely worked with walking pneumonia.

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