Veterans Day is supposed to be “the happy one.” The other main holiday for the Armed Services is Memorial Day, which focuses on those who lost their lives while serving their country. The focus on Veterans Day is on celebrating service.
However, the veteran community is in the middle of coming to grips with the complicated legacies of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our veterans, of these conflicts and of historical conflicts such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars, are trying to process these events. Many are asking themselves, where is the light? How can we find positivity in all of the chaos?
As veterans at Qualtrics, we realize that we are blessed. We have made it further professionally than a lot of us thought we would when we were serving. That is not the experience of many in the veteran community though. I was a Mortarman in the Marine Corps infantry. Most of my peers did not go to college after their enlistment and many more have lingering mental or physical issues from their time in service.
Inside of our relatively small veteran community at Qualtrics, we have an incredible breadth of experiences. While all of us are veterans, what the word means to each of us has different connotations.
The goal for the Qualtrics veteran community, in a way, is to “lift as we climb.” As people who signed up to serve others, their community, and their country, we have come to realize that our service journeys are just beginning. Having been graced with strong support systems and opportunities, I have arrived at success and now have the chance to light the path for others. All of us do.
At the Qualtrics veteran community we often share this phrase, “every act of kindness has a ripple effect with no logical end.” We use it to remind ourselves to give back.
Today, we encourage you to join us in the spirit of service. We ask that if you have a veteran in your life that you take some time to appreciate and support them. If you do not have someone who has served in mind, we ask that you instead find a group that focuses on supporting veterans and consider contributing to their cause.
I have learned, through trial and mentorship, that helping others also helps to heal yourself. The implication here is that supporting a veteran is not just buying coffee for someone in uniform. It’s about being empathetic and patient, and understanding that the experiences of others are not your experience or feelings. To try and understand is key. From understanding you can move to helping.
At the end of the day, for all of us who signed up and wore the uniform the spirit of service lives within us. This Veterans Day, find a cause that motivates you and put your own service towards uplifting others in your community.
Additional resources to help
Veterans Crisis Line — Call, chat, or text caring, qualified responders from the Department of Veterans Affairs
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — Call or chat for free and confidential emotional support for suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
How to support veterans (USA Today) — Useful article from USA Today with more tips and advice on supporting veterans
Afghanistan: Let’s Talk About It (VA) — A list of useful resources and helpful advice from the VA