I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the headline and photo on the front page of my local newspaper the Ahwatukee Foothills News yesterday. There I was, standing in front of The Buzzed Goat Cafe wearing my Post 64 American Legion hat. The picture was taken after a speech I gave at my book launch party. One of the main focuses of my short talk was to share my experience in the US military and pay tribute to the veterans and honor their service and sacrifice.
I read aloud the excerpt below from my book Strong Words and Simple Truths: The Courage to Communicate.
Here is the introduction summary of Chapter 6: Veterans and Remembrance.
“Heroes are people who put themselves at risk for the benefit of others.”
The first veterans I admired were my father, uncles, and cousins that served in the U.S. Military. Most of them, my dad included, were deployed across the globe to fight for freedoms during World War II. Their strength and resolve inspired me to become a leader and a servant to others. They were my Strong Man role models.
The idea of selfless service was instilled in me at an early age as I watched my parents and my dear cousins Joey, Patty, and Richie, volunteer for countless events at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Although my small hometown was only a few square miles, it was home to not one but two veteran organizations—The American Legion and the VFW. Every year when I was growing up, our town would have a Memorial Day parade that concluded at one of these two posts. In my family, Memorial Day was a special day marked by a solemn remembrance ceremony in the local cemetery.
My time on active duty in the U.S. Army in the early 1990s was relatively short and painless, but it left a lasting imprint on my perspective, leadership style, and values.
After college, I learned of the “Duty, Honor, Country” mantra of the U.S. Military Academy. I never forgot the crucial importance of remembrance and respect for those who have sacrificed in service to their nation.
The veterans I have encountered have a strong sense of integrity and commitment to their families, friends, and community. They are a tough and resilient lot who are some of the most kind, generous, and boisterous people I know.
The Strong Man is my tribute to all people who have served their countries and communities. Please join me as I share some of my thoughts on this important topic.
Happy Veterans Day!