When you learn about the Greatest Generation, WWII veterans, you learn that those coming back from the war in Europe (V-E Day, Victory in Europe) and the Pacific (V-J Day, Victory in Japan) were filled with a greater sense of purpose than is unlike in any previous US history. What was their sense of purpose? A Just Mission. This war went far beyond our own national borders, but more important, it involved millions of men and women in the fight, those fighting the fight and those supporting those that fought. It was the combination of both outside our border and the numbers of people involved that changes the scope of that generation. For veterans and military members going to war, it means using what available resources, sometimes limited or sometimes improvising, are at one’s disposal to get the mission done. It also means marshaling others of your team to help, because in most cases you rarely do it alone, it’s a team effort.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Military’s Mission. What is the American military’s mission: “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Notice the sequence here, first it’s support and defend the Constitution, and second, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We support, then defend our Constitution and constitutional principles, our creed and code of life by which we live by.
- Support the Constitution. To support our Constitution requires that we understand it. That’s why Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Wythe on August 13, 1786, “I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness…Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.” It is the content of our educational system which is critical and should consist of reading, writing, and math, and once these foundations of learning are understood, we move on to educating about our constitutional republic. Once a student learns about how each is to function in our society as literate citizens, then it’s on to other subjects and ultimately to subjects that align with a child’s, teenager’s, and even adult’s talents and interests and the market’s needs and wants.
- Defend the Constitution. Once we have an informed and educated citizenry who understand our Constitution, both the citizens and military defend the Constitution. This means supporting not a person, party, or organization, but its encompassing all the ideals and values of the Constitution. After defending these ideals, the military then defends the US population, or in the case of foreign wars, protecting the native population and defeating the enemy forces in a just war.
Before the end of WWII, FDR signed the G.I. Bill for all the returning veterans. By the end of the war there were over 16 million who served during WWII out of a US population of over 130 million people, so veterans comprised around 12% of the our US population. Vets not only applied for this education and training opportunities, but their “gung-ho” attitude learned in training and during the war was applied toward their new life in America. Veterans made up about 49 percent of college enrollment in 1947 (http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/life_20.html ). This same “gung-ho” attitude is true for all veterans, including recent veterans of the first Gulf War I and those having served in the Iraq and Afghan wars.
Today, less than 1% (around 1.5 million both active and reserves http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Armed_Forces ) of today’s US population (315,000,000) are currently serving in the US military; and being a military veteran is one of the strongest indicators of who in this country is likely to start a business. Veterans are 45 percent more likely to start a business than none military, per the article How Military Veterans Are Finding Success in Small Business. It is because “military training develops organizational skills and risk-tolerance.” So as a veteran, what other aspects does one learn in the military that creates the best skills to excel as a business owner.
Here’s are examples: