by Thomas Bostick at forbes.com
Early in my career, I had the opportunity to serve as a White House Fellow. The White House Fellowship program provides young leaders an opportunity to gain first-hand experience at the highest levels of federal government. The White House Fellows often return to their previous professions with a much better appreciation for government service. White House Fellows work closely with Cabinet members, senior White House Staff, or other top-ranking government officials. I had the honor and opportunity to work directly for Secretary Edward J. Derwinski, the first Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary. Upon entering the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters, I saw a plaque near the entrance inscribed with words taken from President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, which he delivered on March 4, 1865. The plaque’s inscription:
“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
As we reflect on Veterans Day, it is important to acknowledge that freedom is not free and comes at a cost. Those who have “borne the battle” have sacrificed much, some with their lives, and some with great physical and emotional pain, so that many others can live in freedom. Their families also serve and sacrifice. Today we cannot assume enough young men and women will volunteer to serve in our military. And without a strong military, businesses will not succeed. So, business leaders have a role in ensuring our nation remains strong through a strong military.