I'm the proud daughter of a World War II Veteran who would be 103 if he were alive today. (I was the surprise child born to my parents in their forties.) Today, more than ever, I'm reminded of the courage, leadership, and sacrifices that veterans like my father made - and those serving today continue to make - to keep our country safe.
In this time of almost daily violence and hate crimes in the United States, we have an opportunity to rise above hate, indifference, political gridlock and lack of understanding by embracing the same qualities shown by our vets as our inspiration and our guide: courage, sacrifice, and leadership.
My dad, who was a Lt. Commander on the USS Dyson in the Pacific Theater, once told me, "We were all united on our ship. No one thought about race, religion, or ethnicity because we were Americans, all serving together, with one mission, under God." As a young girl, my early views about diversity and inclusion were shaped in large part by my dad who often shared stories about his travels and experiences with his shipmates-many who came from very different backgrounds than his own. Later in life, he was in charge of organizing reunions for his shipmates in our hometown of Tucson. After he died way too young at age 74, my oldest brother helped organize a trip for my family to attend a reunion of my dad's shipmates in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We met many tear-filled servants to our country, and we were able to thank them personally for their service and sacrifice on behalf of our dad who couldn't be there himself.
Today, where we aren't safe in schools, movie theaters, places of worship, yoga studios and our press is under fire, we seem to be a country turned on itself. We are far from being the united Americans that our veterans fought to protect. Let's make a decision to honor our vets today by responding to one if not all of these three questions:
1) How are you serving beyond your family and friends?
2) What sacrifices are you making?
3) What are you doing with your money?
Let's heal our divisions among us by modeling the courage, sacrifice, and leadership shown by our veterans who have served, or are proudly serving today-especially those who have made the Supreme Sacrifice and given their life for our country. The best way to pay tribute to our veterans is to show the same courage and sacrifice they've made at this time when our democracy needs it more than ever.
Happy Veteran's Day. Here's to a future nation that is worthy of our past.