It’s the eve of Veterans Day 2014 and this particular day of honor, I become even more patriotically emboldened regarding our great Country. Yes, I am a flag waving believer in the foundations and Veterans that provide us the freedoms we enjoy. On Sunday, I was watching a news show and the CEO of Starbucks and author of the book For Love of Country, Howard Schultz was being interviewed. Mr. Schultz said “Two and a half million extraordinary young men and women have served for the last ten, 15 years in an all-volunteer service. As a result of that, most of America, 98% have not had real skin in the game. We need to have a conversation, be empathetic, be understanding, and do everything we possibly can across the country, in rural America and every town, to hire a veteran.”
His phrase “skin in the game” really struck me and I consider his words profoundly honoring to all Veterans. To have “skin in the game” one must give something of value and take a risk of achieving a goal. Yes there are rewards for having skin in the game, but the risk of losing the skin that you put in the game is a real possibility as well. Our Americans with real skin in the game come from every walk of life, ethnic group, and from the poorest to the most wealthy zip codes. But here is the underlying difference between our Veterans and everyone else; they volunteer to put their skin in the game. They raise their right hand and swear that they will actually support and defend our way of life, even if it means giving their own life. A US Veteran is anyone that took the oath and not exclusive to combat duty; if they served under this promise, they had “skin in the game.” Below is the oath:
“I (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will be true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and The Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Our Nation is grateful for the sacrifice and we have a national debt to honor our commitments for Veteran recognition, education and health care. Our history is our history because of Veterans. Upon returning from duty after World War II, Veterans used their skills, work ethic and education opportunities to build what we now know as the middle class. Since then, nothing has changed because our young Veterans today have even better skills with an understanding of hard work and commitment; they deserve to be first in line for the job, period.
Please watch this video by USAA: Especially on Veterans Day, when you see a Veteran, step up and thank them for their service. After all, they put their skin in the game for you and your family.
I have respect for those that served before me, alongside me and serve today. I am proud that over the years my family put skin in the game to make this Country great and we are still doing so today with my oldest son’s service. From an old Veteran; to all of my fellow Vets that also put their skin in the game, my salute to you and my undying support, So help me God. From the Command Post: Cheers y’all! #thefuneralcommander