Somehow it seems serendipitous to have Veterans Day fall so close to Election Day. The freedom to vote for the person we want to lead us is a right won and preserved by the millions of men and women who put on our nation’s uniforms to proudly watch out for us from the air, land and sea. Their sacrifices in public service can never be fully repaid, especially to those who have endured service tours that took them from their families, took their limbs or even took their lives. There is no measure or treasure big enough to honor them, but if you know any of them, one thing you will always hear them say is, “I was proud to serve.”
That’s the example our veterans deliver to us. They serve. They go into the worst places, endure tremendous risks, take on duties and responsibilities that are Herculean, snap their salute and serve the best way they know how.
It is an ethos amongst all of them. A fraternity born of raising their right hands, swearing an oath, and being trained to take on duties most people will never understand or appreciate. It is inspiring in so many ways, but there is another way service members are serving: entrepreneurship.
According to the Small Business Association, there are more than 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States. And that number is growing. Programs to help service members start their own businesses can be found in almost every community with major banks, other financial service institutions, business incubators, governments and even universities. It’s a tremendous gift to see these men and women continue to serve the public in a different uniform. The years they spent taking and delivering orders now come from a different cast of personnel and uniforms.
Service in its many forms always makes a difference, and that is why this Veterans Day I’d like to share a video of a veteran-owned enterprise that is making a world of difference. It’s what happens when three-Afghanistan vets from Chicago take their training, courage and interests to bring economic opportunity and service to two continents.