Friday, November 11, 2005

Honoring Veterans

I served in the US Army from 1968 to 1971. I was lucky to do time in Korea and not in Viet Nam where so many young people made the ultimate sacrifice.

I think that the best way to honor our veterans is for more people to be willing to make true sacrifices of time, talent and treasure to assure that every person in America has the same hope and opportunity as do the kids of the politicians who vote to send troops overseas to fight and die, but then don't provide funds to support those troops as veterans, or to support the many high poverty communities where poverty is breeding violence, feeding our growing prison industry, and creating two Americas.

Each person needs to look in their own personal mirror to determine what level of giving would be a sacrifice. However, we only need to look at a Military Cemetery, or a Military Hospital to see a standard for comparison.

In past blogs I've talked about how difficult it is for non profits to sustain funding over the long term. That was from the charity perspective. What about the donor perspective? If you want your contributions of time and money to add up to a difference, you need to think of what it took for you to earn that money or talent.

For most of us we were not born to wealth. We had to go to school, perhaps college, then work our way up in a job to the point where we could make charitable gifts. For those who started companies, it took many years of hard work before turning a profit, then expanding the business. For those with inherited wealth, your fathers or grandfathers did the heavy work of earning the money. It's up to you to do the heavy work of making sure the money build a better world.

If you want your dollars to have an impact, pick a charity and a cause and stick with it for many years...or a lifetime. Get to know what they do. Volunteer time if you can. Be an advocate if you can. Help them find others who will add their support to your support. If you jump from cause to cause, or charity to charity, you may feel good about your giving, but those you give to may never be able to sustain their work long enough to do the good that your original donations intended.

If we want world peace, it is not just the responsibility of the peacemakers to do all the work, it is the responsibility of every one who benefits from peace.

We will honor our veterans when more of us take this responsibility as a day to day responsibility.

Dan Bassill
Tutor/Mentor Connection

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