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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

A personal Veteran's Day message from Gary Wright II

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

A personal Veteran's Day message from Gary Wright II

Each year, the day arrives to honor all of the veterans who have served and died for our country.

Our elder generations remember the day as "Decoration Day." It was a time each year that the community gathered to clean and decorate the graves of our lost loved ones. Today, it is still an American tradition to hold memorial services at all of our cemeteries. You can still see an entire family respectfully circling the tomb of a lost sailor or soldier. At the graves of many of our greatest leaders, you can still see "an eternal flame", still burning through all of the dark hours of the night. At Arlington National Cemetery, on any day of the year you can still participate in the solemn vigil kept at the tomb of the "unknown soldier."

I want to start a new tradition for Veterans Day. Each year, I want all Americans to honor ALL of our veterans - living and dead. I want Americans to remember that many of our soldiers have never came back home to us, and they are still listed as Missing in Action (MIA) or as Prisoners of War (POW).

I want Americans to still gather around the graves of our loved ones, but to also realize that we owe our way of life to more than just the veterans. We should also remember the leaders of our community that have sacrificed their lives by standing up for injustice whenever and wherever they see it. It is very hard to stand up for your beliefs, (especially when it seems like you are the only one standing). They are all heroes.

There are over 65,000 gay and lesbians currently on active duty in our armed forces. Over one million LGBT have honorably served our country in every conflict since the American Revolution. Each year there is a large group of friends that gather in Arlington around the grave of Vietnam veteran Air Force Sergeant Leonard Matlovich. The inscription on Matlovich's gravestone reads: "They gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one." Regardless of our personal views, we should never forget to honor each and every one of our veterans!

Many people have asked me, "How can I support our soldiers - without supporting the war?" Here's what you can do:

1. If you know someone in the service, write them a letter on a regular basis. Getting a letter from home really boosts morale.

2. Adopt a sailor / soldier for the holidays. If you live near a military base, you can invite them to join your family for the holiday. For those who can't be home with their loved ones for the holidays, it really helps them make it through the holidays.

3. Donate to the USO! The United Service Organization (USO.org) is a private, non-profit organization that provides morale, welfare, and recreation-type services to the men and women serving our country. They have an office at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport:

http://www.usogeorgia.org/
Jean R. Amos USO Center
#320, Terminal Atrium
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Atlanta, GA 30320
Phone: 404/761-8061 or 404/530-6770
Fax: 404/765-1794
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 20963
Atlanta, GA 30320
Hours - M-F 7am-9pm; Sat 7am-6pm; Sun 7am-8pm

Have a great (and safe) holiday!

-- Gary Wright II

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