This is what I found on CDAPRESS.COM, written by CHAD STORLIE:
Nov 11th was Veteran’s Day and I was a parade participant. I am not a retired General, I am not a celebrity, and I am not good looking. I am only an Army veteran. I was on a float with about twenty other military veterans representing all the other military services, officers to enlisted ranks, and service periods from the Vietnam War through the Cold War to Iraq and Afghanistan. As the float wound through the downtown, I began to realize that I was seeing something very special and unique in America and not for the reasons that I even imagined.
The diversity of color, experience, personality, and socio-economic status of military veterans is still a constant highpoint of my military service. As I got on the float, the first thing that struck me was the concern, comradeship, civility, and politeness of everyone present. Veterans introduced themselves, passed water to each other, passed the good-natured inter-service jokes, and made sure there was space for everyone to sit. To head off the skeptics to my earlier sentence: even the Marines were polite. Whenever I gather with military veterans, I am continuously struck by our ability to celebrate our dedication to the United States and use our diversity or character, color, and career as a unifier, not a divider, to bring and keep us together.
As I surveyed the street side crowd, there were faces old, young, brown, black, tan, white, and variations in between. America is changing and America has always been changing. Veterans innately understand the benefits and challenges of change and how diversity-in-the-ranks enables effective change. The American military handles change and diversity through a three-pronged approach. There are: (1) common training programs in institutional ethics, (2) universal and published standards of accomplishment for promotion, and (3) universal standards for job performance. When I joined the Army Special Forces, everything about my past was immaterial. My name was replaced with a number, no instructor knew my education, my SAT score or my parent’s income, I was a blank page. It was only after I proved that I could shoot accurately, navigate quickly through forests in the night, lead teams in training missions, and speak a foreign language that I became a Special Forces soldier. Today, anyone of any background can be a Special Forces soldier if they meet the published standards. Diversity and change are challenges, but only an unsurmountable challenge when we have different, unstated, and selective standards of performance for each group. The US Military proves that high standards with strong ethical leadership make diversity in a rapidly changing landscape a strength, not a burden.
The author, Chad Storlie, ends the OpEd by saying, “As the parade passed the last waving faces, I felt better about the United States and the citizens of the United States than I had in years.” He notes the “leadership, strength, intelligence, and ethics” Americans espouse, which fosters a “passion to succeed.”
Information provided by CDAPRESS.COM.
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