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Thoughts on Veterans Day

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

On November 11, the Dawson & Associates family once again salutes our nation’s Veterans. This annual Veterans Day commemoration holds a special meaning for our company because so many on our team have “well and faithfully discharged” the duties of military service.

Last month, I was in the Republic of Korea, a country I visited many times during my service in the Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division. During this trip, I visited The War Memorial of Korea in Seoul, an impressive collection of poignant exhibits, war memorabilia, art works, and military equipment. High above a display of commemorative plaques, I was particularly struck by a beautiful dedication that mirrored words from our own Korean War Memorial in Washington DC:

“Our Nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a

country they never knew and a people they never met.”

I thought, what is it that motivates people to answer that call to service? To help find an answer, I asked our firm’s Veterans to share why they served or what they learned from their military service. The answers are telling. The common threads of honor, sacrifice, pride, and character stitch together a tapestry of inspiration:

"I joined for the challenge, but soon learned that I continued in service because of my desire to honor our men and women so willing to give of their time, energy, relationships, and even blood to serve each other and our national cause."

"I served because a number of my contemporaries decided to avoid service and head to Canada. My father taught me it’s important to serve.”

“Naïve, with youth and ambition, I came to protect the Republic from the Communist threat. Inspired by my brothers, I stayed to join better men, as they worked with broken tools, rebuilding the Army and the nation’s spirit.”

“I grew up in a household where service to Country was paramount. As many of my generation, my dad served in the Asian theatre during World War II. Being of the Vietnam era, this was a challenging time for the Country. I was privileged to serve during the Vietnam War on a Destroyer Escort ship in the Navy. To me, it was a smooth transition from the navy to the Army Corps of Engineers as a civilian. As important as service at any time is, I am amazed and admire this generation of people who are answering the call to duty. God Bless and protect them.”

“From my service I learned to be on time, pay attention, and how the U.S. military protects and serves our country.”

“I served because it is a sacred birthright in our family to serve this nation that has been passed down generation to generation…[and] has continued unbroken for the past 246 years, in peace and war.”

"Among the things I learned was, generally speaking, ‘people are the same the world over, it's the governments that are different.’ We live in a fascinating world today, the direction for which was determined by World War II. I have often wondered what the world would be like had the US chosen something other than a ‘Europe first’ philosophy for our manpower resources regarding the prosecution of the WW2 conflict.”

"I respected the people I served."

“I decided to stay because I enjoyed serving with great people on challenging missions in diverse locations."

“From my service I learned patience and perseverance. The ability to weave a way through the noise to accomplish the task at hand.”

“I served because I wanted to follow up the legacy of my father, who served in the Army in North Africa and Europe all four years of World War II (1941-1945). Like many others, he enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor and served for the entire war.”

“Serving my country was a natural extension of my youth after achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.”

“I came from a poor family and did not want to saddle my parents or myself with the debt of a college education. I went to West Point with the intention of getting a first-class education, honorably fulfilling my five-year commitment, and then entering private enterprise. Instead, I stayed almost a quarter century because I loved what I did, felt it made a positive difference, and most importantly loved the soldiers and families I served with. Knowing what I know now, I would do it all again.”

Such is the commitment to service that is a foundational principle within Dawson & Associates.

I suspect for most veterans, it’s heartening when someone says, “Thank you for your service.” Store discounts and free entry into national parks (or a Corps of Engineers recreation area) are nice. But Veterans understand those kinds of benefits rank far below the life-long personal satisfaction of sharing a common bond of faithful service – honor, sacrifice, pride, and character.

On behalf of all of us at Dawson & Associates, we proudly honor our nation’s Veterans!

Gen. (ret) Rick Stevens

Senior Vice President & Director of Business Development

A member of the Dawson team since 2018, Rick Stevens was Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 2014-2017.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dawson & Associates.


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