Take time to reflect and give thanks

Many Americans have come to view holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day as just days off of work, forgetting the true meaning of what makes these days so special. Our veterans deserve better. They have fought to protect our freedom and in some cases, they have given their lives to do so. The least we can do as we celebrate the arrival of summer is take a few moments to appreciate the tremendous sacrifice made on our behalf.

I know that I’m fortunate to be the CEO of a successful business in a country with a stable government and a functioning judicial system. I don’t have to worry about the government seizing my business, and I don’t have to worry about a foreign invader destroying everything I have and turning my family into refugees. For all of that, we have veterans to thank, and most of us don’t have to go far to find one.

Just about everyone has a veteran in his or her family, and I’m no exception. My uncle was part of a B-17 bomber crew in World War II. He didn’t like to talk about his experience in the war and the horrors he faced in the skies over Nazi Germany, but his — and the thousands of others’ — sacrifices to duty helped make our country what it is today.

All veterans helped give us the freedoms we have today, and I think it’s important to give something back to them. The first step is spending some time to reflect on days like Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day and teach our children about their true meaning and importance. Beyond that, there are many ways to say thanks. If you meet a veteran, thank him or her for their service; donate to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that helps injured veterans; or make an effort to hire a veteran re-entering the workforce.

We live in the greatest country on Earth and we have all of our veterans to thank for it. So the next time you are enjoying the freedoms this country provides, be sure to take a moment and reflect on the sacrifices that others made on your behalf.

And if you are a veteran reading this column, let me offer a heartfelt thanks to you and your family.

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network