On Saturday, twenty-three severely wounded and injured veterans in the Wyakin Warrior program will be honored in Boise, Idaho as Grand Marshals in the Veterans Day Parade.
Most of us will never have that experience, and it will be a big moment in their lives. What makes this event different, I think, is that the Wyakin Warriors are not being honored for what they did, or what happened to them in the past. To be sure, they all sacrificed dearly for their country, and that should not – cannot – be brushed aside. But on Saturday, they will be honored for what they are doing now, and for what they represent.
They all have had to confront challenges that would have made lesser men like me curl up in the fetal position and give up. They chose not to. They faced their physical challenges head on and told themselves, “I can do this.” They are all going to school and pursuing degrees and certifications that will position them for solid vocations in the future.
They are not looking for jobs. They are looking for careers.
And they are fine-tuning personal skills that will one day make them community and business leaders. They are developing individual service projects to give back to others. They attend seminars to hone interpersonal skills, learn business techniques, and understand employment trends. They work with professional mentors to learn the inside secrets of their chosen professions.
They do not just want to survive; they want to thrive.
That is why they are being honored as Grand Marshals, and I will happily join the large Veterans Day Parade crowd to show my appreciation for all that they represent.
And we will admire them for who they are.