If you or someone you know have experienced a death, please take the time you need to process your grief. To all those who have served our country or who are remembering a Veteran, may Memorial Day bring some measure of peace and calm to your heart.
Much of what I know about homeless vets I learned as an outreach worker with the VA in the early 90's. I met a thousand different homeless vets with a thousand different stories.
Sgt. Henry Johnson and Sgt. William Shemin are being awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama at a White House ceremony for their heroics in World War I. Not surprisingly, a fair bit of information about both soldiers can be found online, and while personal details about Sgt. Shemin are mostly accurate, Sgt. Johnson's are frequently distorted.
Seven years ago, I started Wish of a Lifetime, a non-profit that grants lifelong wishes to the oldest people in our country, because they are the forgotten ones and we aim to change that.
In a sense, Memorial Day weekend should usher this country into the griever's world: The every day reality of grief. Memorial Day should (or could) be a time when the whole nation bows its collective head to its collective heart, and says: Ow. Ow. OW. This hurts.
This weekend marks one of the most sacred holidays of the year for me -- Memorial Day. It is a time to reflect on those who gave all for their country. It is our solemn duty to never forget and to honor their memories.
I adore having three-day weekends. Yet, I wish all school children knew what this day is for. Any family who has lost someone recently in our current endless wars, or still have family who served in Vietnam or Korea who suffer with lasting injuries, both mental and physical -- will honor this day with sadness. We all need to think about that.
While investing in veterans and active duty military personnel is a great way to give back to those who have served, there is also an important business case to be made related to investing in entrepreneurs who are veterans of the military.
One of my first experiences in witnessing the amazing dynamic that is possible in the interaction between horses and humans occurred at a maximum-security prison in Florence Colorado. It was here that I was introduced to The Wild Horse Inmate Program or WHIP.
Think today's veterans are mostly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and barely making ends meet? According to a recent report by Got Your Six, just the opposite is true--today's veterans tend to be engaged citizens, more likely to volunteer and vote than the general population.
As a veteran and entrepreneur, I've learned a thing or two about mentorship over the years. In fact, I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for a group of incredible mentors guiding me along the way.
Let us give thanks for the many lives lost on the battlefield. But let us also acknowledge those who returned home, alive and well, but feeling empty, numb, even dead, on the inside. And let us call attention to these invisible wounds that effect so many, raising awareness of the need for our congregations to take action to help their recovery.
During my second trip to be with the Navajo veterans, they took me to one of their most esteemed locations: the veterans cemetery where the U.S. Marine Corps World War II veterans known as "Code Talkers" are buried.
I love my country and everything for which it stands. I am so very grateful to have been born here into the greatest democracy in the world. I appreciate the freedoms that I have that allow me to be who and what I am and to believe whatever I choose.
Among those who did return and the family members of all who served, I see too much addiction and pain. That personal human suffering is an unacceptable legacy to those who died in service to their nation.
In honor of those who have served, or are serving now, we will all stand. We will remove our hats. Some will salute. Others will shed tears.