America’s veterans come in many shapes and sizes. For four years, I have employed veterans and learned invaluable lessons. My intention of a simple and sincere salute to the men and women of the military became a study of human dignity and humility. I want to speak of two kinds of veteran heroes: the truly inspirational kind and those who really need our understanding.
The inspirational kind are the ones who saw their loved ones or friends blown up into pieces. They questioned why God saved them and what their purpose is. They have struggled but reconnected with their mission. They serve and uplift everyone they can. They are some of the most inspirational people: just, honest, dedicated, loyal, and unafraid. They invest in others to lift them up. This is their mission. Pure goodness. I learn from them. They have wisdom beyond their years. They are natural teachers and mentors. They are walking inspirations and lesson plans. Learn from them.
The second kind needs our help. I work to serve these veterans. They are gentle souls. They too saw their friends blown-away to smithereens. They are broken from inside. The death and darkness grips and overwhelms them. The loss of life, whether their friends who were taken by enemy or life force sucked from the enemy haunts them. They remember the images are tormented by them.
These gentle souls want nothing to do with the military or with any other people or process related to the military. They have seen things they cannot reconcile and they walk away from anything to do with the military. they don’t associate with other veterans and don’t ask questions because they don’t want to answer questions themselves. They don’t take the benefits they have earned, the protections they are offered and gains that have accrued. They have left family and can drift from place to place. They need us, the society to help them. I hire these people. You should too.
5 Useful insights
(1) Don’t ask questions about the war. The wars are tied to bad memories and are a source of trauma.
(2) The veterans are very disciplined and organized. Give them a checklist and they will deliver awesome performance. They are terrific with following checklists.
(3) Pair them up with someone. They keep a positive attitude when someone is around them.
(4) Don’t ask questions. Listen, instead. They will open up when they have trust with you and are ready to speak. And they will tell you everything when you earn their confidence.
(5) Finally, expect that some will leave the job because they need are on a healing journey. Respect that. Expect that some of these people to leave the job in a few months. When they do, hire the next veteran.
All veterans are special because they step up to put their life on the line for the rest of us. While respecting them on the Veteran’s Day is good, giving them jobs is better.