In our daily lives as Americans, many of us can relate to the hectic juggling of family schedules, work obligations and community commitments. Recognizing these seemingly chaotic contributors as gifts rooted in freedom might seem a bit, well, far-fetched.
Think about it – how we choose to make a living, the right to our spiritual choices, the opinions we freely voice, and the people we elect to office, are all liberties that make up our daily lives as U.S. citizens. Yet, recognizing how these rights came to be often gets muddled in the day-to-day.
As we reflect on Veterans Day on November 11, and every day, let us be reminded of the immeasurable sacrifices made by our military – the courageous men and women who have fought hard for the freedoms we enjoy.
Thousands of Georgia-Pacific employees are currently in the U.S. military or have served in the past. One example of this brave service is U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (retired) Alvin Henderson. Alvin is a 26-year GP employee who currently works as a mechanical-electrical technician at our Crossett, Arkansas mill.
Alvin recalls his feelings about fighting for his country in Iraq. He says, “War humbles you. War will make you love your family more. War will empower you to want to do the right things when you get home. It makes a person stronger about life and what they believe in.”
Upon the first commemoration of what is now known today as Veterans Day, President Woodrow Wilson said in 1919:
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
There is perhaps no other defining concept of what it means to be American than freedom. It’s ubiquitous; a powerfully packed symbol of us as individuals and as a nation. For that, I feel immense pride for the veterans who gave us this right. Despite the challenges in this complex society and issues facing us globally, I still firmly believe the United States is the greatest place to live and work.
To all our veterans, I sincerely thank you for your service to our great country – today and every day.