Eighteen years prior to his Memorial Day proclamation, then Lieutenant Junior Grade (JG) Kennedy’s PT boat (PT-109) was cut in half by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri and only through his heroism and champion level swimming (and the kindness and bravery of two Solomon Islanders) were all but two of his men saved.
And for his service, John F. Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart.
Years later, Kennedy would say:
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
These words are apropos on this and every Memorial Day.
Prayers, words and gratitude can touch hearts. Effort and courage is essential for change. Purpose and direction creates the pathway to impact. And each requires us to be in action to achieve the outcome we seek.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
- According to a recent Department of Defense study, while the overall civilian rates of prescription drug misuse was 4.4%, the rate for veterans was 11.7%, with the impact particularly acute for women who serve.
- 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.
- Half a million veterans are unemployed.
- And, twenty-two veterans are committing suicide each and every day.
“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us thru that darkness to a safe and sane future.”
We have much work to do to truly honor our living and deceased veterans.
So, yes, in memory (in memorial) on this Memorial Day lets speak words of gratitude to and for all those who served and died for our country.
Let’s honor them by appreciating, loving and caring for all of our living veterans in their memory – by shining light on the challenges they are facing and by going into action with purpose and direction to rectify these situations.
Each statistic quoted above represents a person. A veteran who deserves far better. And we at Huron are in action and a proud employer of many self-identified Veterans, including former enlisted and commissioned Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
We have the utmost respect and gratitude for all the brave men and women who have served our country.
We also recognize that there is much these men and women have to offer us, i.e., their valuable skills, experience and leadership gained throughout their military career.
There is much we have to offer to them. From new challenges and exciting purpose driven work and being part of a team who will support them with training and coaching to joining a community of veterans through our Veterans employee resource group.
Yes, a win-win.
In memoriam for all those who gave their lives for each of us, be sure to then stand tall and be in action.
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”