What is a hero? Ask a child and they might name someone like Superman, Batman, or the Power Rangers … do me a favor and set the record straight if your child named that last one. And while these characters are pretty impressive (I mean, who can deny the coolness of the Batmobile or Superman’s X-Ray vision?), they are also fictional. But as we get older we realize that a true hero is someone that acts courageously when faced with danger – firefighters, police officers, and of course, those in the military. These individuals put their lives at risk every day for the safety of others.
As Memorial Day approaches, we encourage everyone to take a moment to recognize the sacrifices made by these individuals. We remember those who have fallen in the line of duty, but we also use this day as a reminder to thank and honor those who have served and come home.
Making a Difference
Whether it’s through sending care packages overseas or donating to military organizations at home, OWC is always looking for opportunities to recognize those who have served or are currently serving in the military.
To further this commitment, OWC has recently become a National Sponsor of “Got Your 6,” an organization that aims to create opportunities for veterans and civilians to join together to strengthen our communities. Got Your 6 does this by focusing on the six key pillars of veteran reintegration: jobs, education, health, housing, family, and leadership.
Since its inception in 2012, Got Your 6 has already received 411,000 commitments from the business community to provide jobs for returning veterans and their spouses. And by teaming up with the 100,000 Homes Campaign they have already provided houses for 28,000 veterans and their families. Got Your 6 has implemented an active plan to help veterans, and even has a page on its website dedicated to reporting their progress in each of the six pillars.
“Got your six” is a military term for “I’ve got your back.” The saying started in WWI when fighter pilots referenced a plane’s rear as the six o’clock position, but the term is now used to describe the overall loyalty, support, and cooperation found in military culture.
Many well-known organizations and celebrities support Got Your 6, including companies such as Goodwill, Macy’s, and Wells Fargo, as well as people such as Tom Hanks, Jay Leno, Ryan Seacrest and many more.
When I was in high school, I was in band (and no, not a cool rock band…I was exactly the type of instrument-carrying, big backpack wearing kid you’re picturing in your head right now). And every year on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we performed at ceremonies in our community to honor our local veterans. As a high school kid, I had the typical reaction to these events – I had to get up early on my day off school to do stuff for school?! But once we arrived, I saw the look of pure gratitude on the faces of the veterans that attended. Before we even started playing, they were so thankful that a group of young people was there to recognize those who had served.
One of the pieces we performed was a medley of all of the military branches’ songs. As we played, we asked those who served in that particular branch to stand up when their song was played. The audience smiled as the veterans stood up, some quickly and jumping up in the air, other elderly veterans struggling to stand up but getting there with help of friends. But the look of pride on their faces as their eyes filled with tears left us all speechless. And in that moment we could feel how grateful they were for the little thing we were doing for them. I will never forget that feeling, how humbling it was, and how good it felt to help bring a smile to the faces of those who made tremendous sacrifices for their country.
These veterans truly appreciate any help you can give. Got Your 6 offers a variety of suggestions to get involved with veterans and volunteer in your local community. Visit gotyour6.org for ideas, sign up for their newsletter to keep up on the latest happenings, and check their site frequently for upcoming opportunities.
Got Your 6 also sells merchandise to raise awareness. 100% of net revenues from these sales are distributed to the nonprofit organizations that lead the six pillars of the campaign. You can also make a donation online – 100% of those are given to the nonprofits as well.
And for the next few days you can even help by shopping! Macy’s announced that if you donate $3 to Got Your 6 at the register through May 26, they will give you a 15-20% discount.
Start small – thank veterans in your local community, take a moment this Memorial Day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, or even read a book that helps you understand military culture and learn about their experiences. Those in the military do so much for us – and they will appreciate your efforts more than you can imagine.