Veterans Day: Honoring and thanking all who serve
By Terry Roepke, Senior Project Manager, Infor Finance Business Innovations
History of Veterans/Remembrance Day
By the time the guns of “The Great War” fell silent on Nov 11, 1918, more than 9 million Central and Allied Powers military service members had lost their lives, with Germany, Russia, France, and Great Britain losing more than a million each. The aftereffects of World War I, starvation, disease, and exposure would claim an additional 5 million civilians and leave much of Europe in ruins.
From this ruin, nations across the globe would honor, celebrate, and mourn the sacrifices made by military members to achieve peace on Nov 11—a day that would be originally known as Armistice Day.
As time passed and additional conflicts occurred, Armistice Day had to evolve. After World War II, most nations that celebrated Armistice Day changed the name to Remembrance Day, to remember all who had fallen in all conflicts.
In the United States, World War II had been the greatest military mobilization in the nation’s history. More than 16 million people were mobilized. To recognize all service members, current and retired, across all branches of the US military, in 1954 Nov 11 became known as Veterans Day.
Employee spotlight: Renard Currie, US Army retired
Renard “Rey” Currie, Senior Director of Infor Cloverleaf Product Management, coordinates activities across multiple departments, which focus on enhancing customer experience and success.
Rey started his career in the US Army where he was an operations research systems analyst (OSRA)/programmer. He developed skills and life experiences that allowed him to excel in both the military and later at Infor.
Rey shares what the military meant to him and his thoughts on Veterans Day/Remembrance Day.
What did you do in the Army?
I worked for the Directorate of Combat Development as an operations system analyst/programmer for the support of Patriot Training Simulators at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Patriot Training Simulators are Patriot missile operations simulation stations used to train Patriot Air Defense Artillery personnel. I was a program manager team lead and I programmed in two languages – Simscript, for modeling and simulation logic, and Fortran for geographic information systems (GIS) processing.
How has your military experience impacted your life?
It has taught me to be comfortable being uncomfortable. No matter how much planning you do and how closely you pay attention, things are going to change. You need to be comfortable when that change happens, accept it, and adapt to it.
It has taught me to respect the opinions of other people and what they say. We may not know why they have those opinions or why they feel that way but, in their minds, it’s justified. That doesn’t mean I agree, and I shouldn’t question them. I hope other feel the same for me and my opinions.
Don’t complain—it is all in your head. Having the right mindset is key in less-than-optimum situations. The discomfort is probably temporary and will pass soon. And when you think you are uncomfortable in the future, you have some good data points to compare it against and realize that things are not as bad as you think they are.
What skills did you learn in the Army that have helped at Infor?
The most important thing the Army taught me was “Diversity is what makes the train run better.” It brings different points of view to a problem, which leads to a better solution. Diversity gets people involved and makes them feel wanted and valuable. The more variety we have, the better the outcomes.
The fine art of motivating people. Understanding that all people can be motivated but they can’t be motivated the same way. The art of motivating is understanding the people you are responsible for and knowing what motivates them.
Team dynamics. It’s important to keep your team informed and know what they are doing. Making sure each member knows what they are responsible for and what they need to accomplish.
Lastly, backwards planning. The ability to look at your goal and create a plan to reach it.
On this Veterans/Remembrance Day, what do you think about?
The military is a brother/sisterhood of people who have put their lives on the line to protect their country. It’s about the people who are serving now and those who have passed on.
I also think it’s about the current group of military personnel who are putting their lives on the line in dangerous situations and honor the sacrifices they make by being away from their loved ones and serving their country day in and out.
Veterans Day/Remembrance Day trivia
Finally, some interesting facts about Remembrance/Veterans Day:
- Did you know the red poppy is the symbol of Veterans Day/Remembrance Day, and was inspired by the poppy-covered fields where many World War I battles were fought?
- Edward George Honey, a journalist from Australia, wrote a letter to the London Evening News in May 1919 requesting the observance of a 5-minute moment of silence to commemorate the end of World War I. In early November 1919, King George proclaimed a 2-minute moment of silence. It’s not known if the King ever read Honey's letter.
- In 1971, the United States moved Veterans Day to the last Monday in October. This move caused confusion and diminished the historical significance of Nov 11. In 1978, Veterans Day was moved back to Nov 11.
- Germany’s National Day of Mourning (Volkstauertag) is an occasion to remember all the victims of war and tyranny.
- In 1920 and 1921, unknown soldiers were buried in Westminster Abbey in London, at the base of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC—to forever honor the contributions of all who served.
US Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp
Arlington National Cemetery: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Tomb-of-the-Unknown-Soldier
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