Living generously starts at home with the people we encounter most. But what about a national, patriotic call of duty? How generous are we?
Last weekend, the U.S. Army supported a college football game I attended, and at a break in the game, a representative from the Army was presented a game ball by a school official. The crowd stood to cheer, not only for this man and the Army but for all our troops.
“Does this crowd really support the troops?” I thought. “Or do they merely support the idea of the troops?”
There is a difference between our words and putting those words into action.
Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita wrote in Salon.com last week about a convenience store clerk’s request for his support of the troops. Judging from national media coverage, Salaita struck a national nerve. Supporting the troops is a duty for civilians, it seems.
Salaita makes numerous statements about the “Support the Troops” campaign, but most importantly, I think, he says, “[the campaign] lacks the burdens of substance and specificity.”
How can we really support the troops?
It is not enough to say we do, or to present a game ball and stand to cheer for troops, both current and former, or sponsor a game on behalf of the military, or wear a “Support the Troops” ribbon.
We can, and should, do more.
Among Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America is one company living out the call to take care of former troops, both living and deceased.
Based in Leesburg, Va., Kevin Knight founded Knight Solutions out of his desire to serve the military after a tragic accident left him unable to enlist. Knight contracts with national cemeteries, of which there are more than 100, to improve the final resting places of thousands of troops.
His workforce? Veterans looking for work.
I get veterans who tell me their lives have been forever changed. Not only do they have stable employment with benefits, but they also have a sense of purpose in taking care of the resting place for their fallen brothers and sisters.
– Inc Magazine, September 2013
How better to take care of these troops than giving them a job they desperately need?
The next time someone asks you to “Support the Troops,” think about those without jobs, troops who have passed away whose final resting places are disheveled, and those struggling with mental illness or other challenges from war.