There have been several articles I’ve read in the past couple weeks that have been hard for me to digest. I liken the feeling to how I would feel if I received very truthful, uncomfortable feedback on behavior that I felt was good.
The general topic is that we, in civilian society, perform random acts of hyper-patriotism and label Veteran’s as heroes. And that by doing so, we minimize the length and impact of the longest war in our history; fostering a sense of entitlement and inhibiting Veteran’s ability to fit in and integrate back into civilian life. Tessa Poppe, in her article, We Need To Come To Terms With This Generation’s True War Story, puts it simply, “We glorify to the point of ignorance.”
Oh no, I DO THAT! This thinking upsets the balance on my “moral scale”…do I buy a soldier’s coffee or not? Do I hire a Veteran because their experience translates into great performance? Should I thank fellow Veteran teammates for his/her service? If I offer a better-qualified candidate a job over a Veteran candidate, am I doing the right thing?
“Our society should be less concerned with freebie giveaways and boilerplate op-eds on Veterans Day, and more concerned about how to provide opportunities for our Veterans to flourish after their service,” Alex Horton states in his article Help Veterans by Taking Them Off the Pedestal. Horton’s words helped me to achieve balance again, and realize that this is what we do in our work at BelKat. We are helping to integrate our Veterans, but not by flashy public recognition or acts of monetary acts of appreciation. We are doing so by awareness and a commitment to bridging the gaps that may exist between the first chapter of their life and the rest of their life. So, it’s ok if I buy a soldier’s coffee, but I should do that for others as well. It’s ok that I hold my Veteran employee to the same standards as others on the team with no military service. It’s not ok that I overlook arrogance or entitlement because of Veterans status.
These Veteran-penned, articles by Poppe and Horton referenced above, and one more written by Carl Forsling, Unpacking The Veteran Entitlement Spectrum, are the ones that have provoked this post. If you have time please take a read…I’d love to hear how you feel once you have read them.