Thank You Veterans, for Your Service and Example of Leadership

It’s Veterans Day, and I want to give a BIG thanks for all those who served. Service is the ultimate form of leadership. In the area I live, like much of rural America, there is a high percentage of Veterans.


We are also located right next to the Lac du Flambeau Reservation, and more Native Indian people serve in the military per capita than any other ethnic group, including whites. Both my grandfathers served, as did almost every one of their generation, and my great uncle lost his life in WWII. One of my other great uncles was shot down and held as a POW. His injuries stayed with him his whole life. Service is about sacrifice.

Veterans get this special day because when they volunteer to serve, they are signing up to make the ultimate sacrifice, if required. For a while there, the military was seeming like a pretty easy way to get some societal advantages like a college education and preferential federal job placement. Not so much anymore. Besides, even in a prolonged time of peace, those who enlisted still were signing up to put their life on the line if called upon.

Of course, some people could not fathom going into the military. Combat training is not for them, and they may be morally opposed to war.There have been many other ways Americans have served. I am grateful for the teachers, policy makers, environmentalists, doctors, infrastructure workers… the list of dedicated Americans goes on and on.

After having one of the most divisive elections in history, I think it is important to think about service to our country. We should use the Vets as an inspiration and look up to them to think about what we can give to make the world a better place. This last year, we have seen people who “take the knee” for the National Anthem because they feel we, as a country, could be doing more.

Maybe it is sacrilegious to say this on Veterans Day, but I have been thinking a lot about the Pledge of Allegiance. It may have started while watching Game of Thrones, and seeing different kingdoms pledge to stand by this fictional leader or that, no matter what. Some swore their sword, but then do not fulfill their obligations. I wonder how many Americans have said the Pledge of Allegiance thousands of times, yet threatened to move to Canada if there was either this outcome or that? It is sort of like wedding vows, where people gather all their favorite witnesses together as they swear they will give their lives to this other person, then go roll in the hay with the next person who temps them. What are you swearing to sacrifice?

This is why Veterans Day is so important. Vets really do stand by a commitment and serve. There is no not following through for them. The do go to war when called upon. They together, black, white, Indian, man, woman, Jew, Christian, Muslim, rich and poor, are willing to do their best and if need be, put their life on the line so we can have a society that represents freedom for all.

So let’s use this day not only to thank Vets but to remember that America is a place that is intended to shine as a beacon of hope across the world. We represent inclusive policies, wise conservation policies, a place where our public has the right to visit some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and of course, unprecedented opportunity and freedom to speak out. So find a vet today and thank them. Let them know what you are willing to do to help make America shine as a global symbol of freedom. What you are willing to do to protect the values that they put their life on the line for.

Thank you Veterans for your service and example of leadership!

Keep Leading,

Written by Rad Watkins

Rad Watkins

Rad Watkings is the founder of Animal Leadership LLC where he takes his vast experience from working with wildlife & the environment to help bring out the Leader inside you. He teaches how to excel without the complex tactics that so many people live on for their careers, relationships & more!


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