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Posted on Nov 12, 2016

Why We Value Our Veterans and Active Military

Why We Value Our Veterans and Active Military

In honor of Veterans Day, November 11, it seems appropriate to consider the values of the various branches of the military.

The U.S. Army touts seven values, known by the acronym LDRSHIP:

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps proudly proclaim three core values (though they define them differently):

  • Honor
  • Courage
  • Commitment

The U.S. Air Force assert three different values:

  • Integrity First
  • Service Before Self
  • Excellence In All We Do

Within the various definitions of these values, many of the Common Values found across all businesses are clearly laid out, including: Integrity (Honesty), Respect (Trust), Excellence (Quality), Responsibility (Accountability), Teamwork (Collaboration), Learning (Continuous Improvement), Safety, and Service.

From a citizen’s viewpoint I think there are three overarching values that encompass all of these.

Values Valued by Everyone

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

In recent years, there has been a growing tendency for citizens to publicly and openly say “Thank you” to those in the military. I’ve witnessed this in airports when soldiers are being deployed or are returning home from a mission overseas. I’ve witnessed this in various public forums where crowds just stop and begin applauding as a group of military personnel pass by. And I’ve witnessed this when someone salutes a veteran dressed in their military uniform.

Why do average citizens feel compelled to express their gratitude to those who are – or were – in the military? I believe there are three reasons, or values.

Those who serve – and have served – represent three overarching values that are valued by everyone:

  • Sacrifice. Every person who signs up to join one of the branches of the military knows they are making a sacrifice. For many, it means a lot of work for little pay. It means knowingly going into harms way to achieve the objective. And for some, it means making the ultimate sacrifice with their life.
  • Support. When someone says “Thank you” to a soldier, they often reply, “Thank my family.” Without the full and ongoing support of family and friends, it would be impossible for our military to make the kind of sacrifices they make.
  • Service. The various sacrifices each person in the military make, with the support of family and friends, leads to an appreciation for their service that benefits the entire country. This is the ultimate type of service:
    • Something no one asks for, yet others volunteer to do.
    • Something no one sees, but everyone receives.
    • Something no one expects, yet benefits everyone.

So the next time you find yourself saying to a veteran or military personnel, “Thank you for your service” consider the full extent of why you are saying it. It’s about an individual’s willingness to sacrifice, the support of family and friends, and ultimately their service to country.


What are some unique ways to express gratitude for the service of our veterans and those still active in the military?