America’s greatness comes at a cost. Monday is the day to honor those who paid it.
I’m a big supporter of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran initiative for veterans seeking franchise ownership. The program is an excellent and important way for franchise companies to honor veterans for their service.
VetFran makes it easier for veterans to become business owners by providing discounts on franchise fees for those who have served our nation and gives veterans a path to build a successful and peaceful life after service.
On Monday, we set aside a day to remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to their fellow citizens, giving their lives to guarantee our freedoms.
More than 1.3 million Americans have given their lives to defend the nation that we cherish. From the Revolutionary War to current conflict in Afghanistan, another 1.5 million Americans have been wounded.
It is a solemn occasion during which to give thanks.
We would not have the America we enjoy today were it not for the brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence, pledged their allegiance to a new experiment in freedom and democracy, and endured great hardship to found our nation. In the generations since, American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have continued to sacrifice to defend our nation’s promise of freedom, liberty and justice.
As a Vietnam veteran, I have seen the sacrifices firsthand. The band of brothers concept exists for a reason. When you are dealing with terrible circumstances, you are drawn tightly to your comrades. War creates a family unlike any you have ever had. It’s one of the reasons why my generation of warriors is drawn so strongly to the Vietnam War Memorial. Our friends, our family, are on that wall.
Memorial Day sprang from the Civil War, and poetically, the first known observance began with a soul-stirring expression of thanks.
On May 1, 1865, just two weeks after the assassination of President Lincoln, a group of 10,000 former slaves — newly recognized as citizens — gathered at a cemetery in Charleston, S.C.
Before the war, the cemetery had been a race track, but during the last months of the war, it had become a prison camp for Union soldiers. About 260 of them died during imprisonment and were buried in a mass grave.
At war’s end, more than two dozen of Charleston’s black citizens — citizens thanks to the Union soldiers’ sacrifice — exhumed the bodies and gave them proper burials. And on May 1, 10,000 black citizens paraded on the old race track, led by 3,000 children carrying roses, singing and reading from the Bible.
They knew the debt they owed to the dead.
We all owe a similar debt.
On Monday, every city and town in this nation will host events to honor our nation’s veterans. Find an event near you. Pray for and honor those who gave their lives. Thank the veterans who live on and the men and women who continue to serve. If you have veterans in your franchise system, seek them out and offer your thanks. And most importantly, thank God for their sacrifice.
Tasti D-Lite chairman and CEO Jim Amos has more than 30 years of experience guiding successful franchise companies such as Mail Boxes Etc. He was inducted into the International Franchise Association’s Hall of Fame in February.