Back in my venture capital days I was fortunate to travel to a number of cities where our technology company investments were located. During one of these trips, within a few years after 9/11, I was flying out of an airport somewhere on the west coast, I don’t remember where I was, but travel was highly cautious then especially in light of the terror attacks. I was conducting a nationwide research project on the best executive search firms in the country and what made them so (a little of that in a moment). I was feeling a little self-pity being away from home and missing my wife and kids and all of the things that were going on back in the ‘Burgh. This was a particularly crowded airport concourse. Hundreds upon hundreds of passengers waiting across at least a dozen gates. Kids running around, lots of people on their phones, some people working on their laptops, some people reading books or magazines. I had sat down with quite a long wait for my flight and was concentrating on writing. Then something profound happened. The entire concourse got eerily quiet and off in the distance I heard a group of individuals clapping. All of a sudden everyone got up and started walking, some rushing towards the center aisle through the concourse.
I too wanted to see what was going on and why now there wasn’t just clapping, there was a rather raucous thunder of cheers and hollering. As I got to the main aisle I realized what was happening. A rather large group of desert war soldiers, still in their fatigues, carrying duffle bags and other military issued backpacks had just deplaned from the very end of the concourse and were walking through the airport on their way to their loved ones – or perhaps their next flights. I remember thinking to myself – these individuals – were living heroes walking just feet away from me. It was a very touching and very uplifting event. Lots of love and good wishes where heaped down on those men and women who walked through that concourse that day and it was one of my proudest moments as an American. We have so much to be thankful for with the men and women who protect us and our allies and freedoms we attempt to enforce here and around the world. Unless you’ve traveled to other countries, unless you know the plight of some of the rest of the world, if you pay attention to anything that happens around the rest of this great big planet we live on we should all be thankful for the freedoms and the systems that we govern this country. It’s not perfect, we all know that, but this republic is the best thing that’s ever been created in the history of the world. And it’s all because of the best trained and disciplined military the world has ever seen.
This Memorial Day take a moment to reach out to and thank any veteran or active military person for their service. Let them know you appreciate what they do and the sacrifice they make for their families and for each of us. Please also remember the tens of thousands of military personnel who have lost their lives as a result of their service to our country. I personally would like to thank Virg Palumbo, Ernie Taormina, Tom Medovitch, Brad Ayer, Lou DeSanzo, Clyde Ayer, Josh Keener and all of the other active and retired military who have served our country, including both my dad John (World War II) and my father in law Ernie (Korean War). Our Human Capital Advisors’ family has loved ones serving as well including our Human Resources Professional, Mary Del Rossa’s son Antonino Del Rossa, currently attending the Air Force Academy and our Marketing Director, Lauren Fozard’s boyfriend, Donald Knorr currently serving as a pilot in the Air Force. And, if you would, please say a special prayer for Luke Sciulli, one of my former players, who was hurt by an IED in Afghanistan in the past few months. I’m sure he and his family would greatly appreciate it!
One final thought, given the chance to hire a veteran or a civilian, hire the veteran. They already know about sacrifice, discipline, selflessness, leadership and have been trained by the best. The investment you make will pay off in ways you could never calculate using traditional workplace values. -Dave