Image via jdcdc/Flickr CC
We ask you to take some time this morning to remember the men and women that fought and died to defend our Nation, our way of life, and to protect the vulnerable, exploited, and oppressed populations overseas. We ask you take a solemn moment to honor their sacrifice.
When I take a moment to remember our veterans, my mind is partly filled with vague faces and images from wars long past. But mostly, my mind fills with the very specific and vivid images of friends that I have lost in Iraq and Afghanistan- their faces, their determination, their laughter, and their uniqueness.
I am alive today because of the men and military K9’s that fought alongside me and some of which placed themselves between me and a determined enemy. I can write about Memorial Day because this is not my day. My day of honor comes at the end of summer. But I will never get too caught up in the long weekend celebrations and forget what this day signifies.
Losing friends in battle was a significant driver in my decision to retire and move into the private sector to continue my service. I lost a good friend in December of 2012. He wasn’t the first friend I lost or the last, but his death caused me to re-look a few things. I had come to terms years before that we fight because that is what we are and that is what we do.
And we are willing to incur the cost of fighting, even if that means our lives. But what about our families? Your spouse may have known they were marrying a fighter and still signed up but your kids certainly didn’t. At some point we need to weigh our duty to our Nation with our duty to our family. My friend had arrived at those crossroads. After over a decade of nearly constant war, he decided to retire, recommit to his wife and reintroduce himself to his kids.
He retired from the military after an incredibly storied career.
He wasn’t sure what his opportunities were in retirement so took a job as a defense contractor to make a little money as he figured it out. He deployed one more time to Afghanistan. But this time, he did not return alive. A fight broke out and he, like always, ran to the sound of the guns, defending and saving the lives of men he knew nothing about.
He sacrificed his life to save others. This is as noble of an ending for a man as they come, especially for a soldier.
But as a leader in the organization he had retired from, I realized we had not given him many options after retirement. We had gone through incredible lengths to recruit, assess, test, train, develop, and employ him in dangerous places across the globe. But when it came time for him to hang up his shield, we left him alone to figure it out.
As a leader in the organization I realized that we needed to do better. Who was going to create opportunities for these incredible men and women that all will ultimately leave active military service?
Many people and organizations have since answered this call and we at Guardian Group have as well.
Guardian Group is a non- profit that hires U.S. Veterans from Army Special Operations Forces, specifically those within the intelligence, analytical, and tactical divisions of the force. Our mission is to prevent and disrupt the sex trafficking of women and children while enabling partners to identify victims and predators in the United States.
Our team draws upon decades of combat experience fusing intelligence and operations to achieve counter network effects. We are taking these skills and directing them against sex-trafficking on the national level. We focus on predators and their networks, specifically those involved in child sex-trafficking with the intent to gain an offensive advantage against this problem.
Guardian Group veterans complement resource-constrained law enforcement, ensuring sex-trafficking safe-havens are disrupted and eliminated. We currently operate in over 20 states and have completed hundreds of successful sex-trafficking engagements in direct support of law enforcement and families that need our help. We are in the process of developing strategic partnerships with world-wide and world-class organizations that understand the social and business benefits of tackling this exponentially increasing social injustice.
We have built an organization where our soldiers can continue to find passion and purpose in their lives, while working right here in our own country, never too far from home.
Help us reinvest in our soldiers.
On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised to the top of the staff and then lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains until noon. After noon, it is raised to full-staff for the rest of the day. The half-staff position is intended to remind us of the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of our country.
At noon, we raise their up memory and resolve to not to let their sacrifice be in vain.
At noon, we ask you but to rise in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.