Each and every year, OWC is closed on Memorial Day to honor the thousands of individuals of our U.S. Armed Forces that have given their lives protecting and preserving our freedom.
We proudly fly ‘Old Glory’ and in compliance with Memorial Day Decorum, the US flags at both our Woodstock and Austin facilities were respectfully lowered to half-mast at sunrise and returned to full mast at noon today. We will also be honoring these service men and women with a moment of silence and the playing of Taps at 3:00 p.m. local time. I hope you will join us in this National Moment of Remembrance wherever you may be.
Memorial Day has been celebrated since May 1868 when General John Logan proclaimed the 30th of May as Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day). On that first Memorial Day, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
The website www.USMemorialDay.org is a great source of information on this important day and its history. The site tells us that in 1971, Congress passed legislation that changed this day of recognition to instead fall on the last Monday of May. As opposed to a solitary day of remembrance, it was effectively made part of a three day weekend.
Today, our nation commemorates our fallen heroes with parades, speeches, BBQs, and family. Personally, it bothers me when I hear sales and promotions commercializing this day. To preserve original intent, I believe the 1971 legislation should be revoked so more people remember Memorial Day isn’t just for another three-day weekend.
While Memorial Day is mainly intended to pay tribute to the U.S. men and women who died during military service, Veterans Day, on November 11, is intended to thank living veterans for their service.
Supporting veterans and active duty personnel has been something OWC has become increasingly involved in since Desert Storm in the early ‘90s.
I am proud of our team and their generosity in these efforts. With their help, we’ve been able to collect and ship pallets of books, movies, canned goods, general goodies, video games, sports equipment, and other interesting request items to units we have “adopted” in areas of conflict. It is our hope that we improve their time deployed overseas by making it possible to enjoy some of the “basic luxuries” those of us back home take for granted.
It is also our great privilege and OWC is proud to welcome our vets to employment at OWC and glad to facilitate any transition needed in doing so.
It is an honor and a great benefit as our vets bring their own unique skills, loyalty, and maturity to quickly and accurately analyze a situation, determine how to develop a solution and the ability to determine whether or not they need assistance and/or advice to best serve our mission. We’re lucky to have these individuals on our team and in our local communities where their service continues.
We are lucky to live in a nation with Freedom, Liberty, Opportunity, and Acceptance. This morning, Mirjana – OWC’s Warehouse Manager, OWC team member of 17 years – was on site in Woodstock to respectfully lower our flag. Previously from Serbia and Croatia, she and her husband immigrated to the USA twenty years ago, refugees of war. With the help of friends and family in the Chicagoland area, they made a new home and it was 15 years ago that we celebrated Mirjana’s US citizenship. We are a melting pot built on hard work and sacrifice. I couldn’t ask for a better team member and I sincerely appreciate all that makes it possible for her and all of us to be here with the opportunities we have today.
Jennifer Soule, President of OWC and team member of over 20 years, made it her mission to set our Woodstock flag to height at noon today. She is proud of the service her uncles in the Army, Air Force, and Navy have given our country and is another incredible story. Starting as a temporary worker helping with sales and customer service, over twenty years she’s done just about everything there is to do at OWC and three years ago I was proud to see her become OWC’s president, continuing to power us onward and upwards.
I can’t say it enough – we have great Freedom and with that, great Opportunity. Men and Women have given their lives to protect this. It is up to us to see that their sacrifice is never wasted. This is a responsibility that falls upon all of us.
Whatever efforts we undertake to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those men and women serving in our Armed Forces today and those who have served in the past, we can never do enough because it all pales in comparison to what they and their families have sacrificed for all of us. Giving back is the least we can do; and we do so openly, honestly, and with the utmost respect for their service.
On this Memorial Day – and every day, we hope you’ll take a moment to offer your own gesture of thanks to our men and women serving our nation. Even a small gesture like walking over to a member of our Armed Forces you see and saying thank you can mean the world.