Last week during veteran’s day I got many congratulations and messages from people that know I served in the Military.
I really appreciated their messages which where with great intentions. On the other side I have to say that calling me a veteran is a title I feel like I have not earned. Although I did serve in the military for a bit more than 8 years in between Active Duty and ReservI never went to combat or had to endure many of the issues combat veterans have gone through.
My main focus on veterans day is to make sure those that really did the ultimate sacrifice and put there lives at risk for what they believe in should really get the congrats.
I think very differently at 31 than when I was 17
My way of thinking now is very different to what it was when I enlisted in the army. My value system is different, I wish for Puerto Rico to become independent some day, very different from when I went into the military where I wanted them to have an alliance. That does not mean I don’t have the deepest respect for those who sacrificed themselves serving the military for any country.
My Two Favorite Veterans
On Veteran’s Day last week a few key individuals in my life came to my head.
My Uncle Reynaldo which left the Military as a Lt. Colonel after serving over 35+ years. My uncle was lucky enough to be one of the few individuals from his Basic Training group and not have orders and was in route to Vietnam. Over 30 years later my uncle would be serving in Iraq as the highest-ranking officer in Iraq of the Puerto Rican National Guard at the moment.
The other awesome veteran I admire is my good friend and brother Alex Burgos. Since I met him at age 13 he has been a loyal friend. Even though we where very different something connected us in many ways. Alex is now a Sergeant First Class of the U.S. Army having served one tour in Iraq and another one in Afghanistan as a Combat Engineer. Alex is a decorated veteran who has won a few medals for safeguarding his teams in combat.
Alex is a brilliant individual who is very friendly and a real people person. Not only did I grow up with Alex I also had a chance to work along him as adults before he left for the military. We where pretty much inseperable until he enlisted in the Military and left for Basic Training on February 5, 2002. It has been almost ten years where Alex left for the military but for some reason him being such a good friend I never feel like he has left my side.
Alex is a good example of how having perseverance can get you where you need to be. Alex wanted to be a soldier and being that his first language was spanish passing the ASVAB exam was a challenging task . Puerto Rican’s join the military ranks at a large disadvantage because the Army loves recruiting on the Island but the barriers they give Puerto Rican’s are higher than for any other individual. If you think I am wrong as any serious servicemember who had to join or enlist in Puerto Rico.
I remember Alex took the exam plenty of times and I was the one discouraging him from joining the military. I guess the military is a place for people to sacrifice themselves and I really wanted Alex to have what I thought was a better future for him outside of the military. Although I still feel that the military should not be one of your options to join I see how wrong I was with trying to keep Alex away from serving it was really his calling.
Don’t Let Anyone Tell You What you Can’t do
Alex enlisted and challenged even the same organization that was trying to keep him out. I am sure that any of Alex’s peers will tell you that they would go to combat with Alex any day. I am his friend and I can’t imagine anyone who takes his job more seriosly as a soldier than Alex.
A Salute to The Real Veterans
My good friend Alex reminded me that I was a Soldier too and I really appreciate his message but however, although I was a Soldier too I would like to make sure that the term veteran applies to those that served in combat. Yes being in the military does bring a bit of stressed of being called up but I can’t imagine the stress those service members had or have being under attack and not being close to their loved ones. I have been on the other side having Alex and Uncle Rey in combat worrying about their safety and sending many prayers to make sure they come back safety.
Who would you go to combat with?
I have many friends that are Combat Veterans and if when I was in the military I would have been great to have them by my side. If I had to choose I would make sure I had my Uncle Rey and Alex near me if I had to go to Combat I could not think of any two guys to better than them to make sure that we all would be safe.
The same in business think of those who you would go to combat with. If by any chance you feel you could not go to combat with any of your employees or business partners you really need to evaluate your current business relationships with them.
Now if you are thinking of hiring personnel think of how great it could be to hire a service member even better if they are a Combat Veteran. If they where willing to make the ultimate sacrifice I am more than sure they would give their best for your business and their job.
I was a Soldier too but make sure we all take care of the Real Veterans that sacrificed a lot for what they believed in.
Make sure you thank a Combat Veteran every day!