Every spring, Memorial Day gives Americans the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen who have given their lives for our country. What began as “Decoration Day” in the aftermath of the Civil War was renamed Memorial Day during World War II as an opportunity to honor all Americans who died in military service. It became an official national holiday in 1971.
As a veteran myself, I’m keenly aware of the importance of recognizing those who gave their lives for our country. Today, our armed forces numbers over 1.3 million service members across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The sacrifices made by military personnel in our current active military operations are enormous — 52,345 lives lost. You can read some of their stories, and reflect on the sacrifices they’ve made for our country, on the Washington Post’s powerful and heartbreaking Faces of the Fallen site.
I hope that you will take a moment this Memorial Day to pause, and consider how to best show support for the families of fallen military personnel and veterans returning home from service.
I’m personally proud of General Assembly’s commitment to our veterans. We offer a range of opportunities to those returning to civilian life including scholarships to our immersive programs, educational partnerships with the Veterans Administration, and career exposure opportunities for veteran-focused nonprofits.
One story that’s stuck with me is that of Jerome Hardaway, a veteran who served two tours of duty during the Iraq War. Upon returning home, he struggled to find his path. Through our Opportunity Fund scholarship program, Jerome was able to take part in our Web Development Immersive career accelerator and went on to start the nonprofit organization VetsWhoCode. He now works to inspire and empower other veterans and servicemembers to pursue training and jobs in tech.
While we cannot bring back those who gave their lives for our country, we can use this holiday to honor their memories and sacrifice for our country by supporting their families, friends, and communities, and resolving to find ways to empower veterans who are able to come home.
–– Scott Kirkpatrick, President and COO of General Assembly