May is upon us, a month with family as we recognize our mothers on Mother’s Day, May 8th, and it ends on a somber note as we celebrate Memorial Day on the 30th. The 5th is Cinco De Mayo where many people gather. We also celebrate Armed Forces Day on the 21st. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month and with the surge of veteran suicides, it is appropriate to remember that having served our country, we are all familiar with the concept of Battle Buddies and that we leave no one behind. Look out for your battle buddies and if they are stressed out, step in and help. Finally, May is Military Appreciation Month which coincides with Armed Forces Day on the 21st.
I am thrilled to see many more members stepping out to recognize WW2 veterans. It is equally important to recognize families that have lost a loved one who served in WW2. The Medallion offers them the opportunity to have a discussion with their kids and grandkids as to the meaning of the “Greatest Generation”. Because of this program, I have been able to bring new members into NCOA because this program truly touches people. You have an opportunity to explain to our younger generations how through the efforts of the Greatest Generation, the United States of America became a beacon of light and hope for the entire world. It would truly be a sad thought if those of us who served to defend freedom did not make the effort to recover our younger generations.
I remember from my year long tour in Iraq seeing citizens going to the ballot box to vote for the first time. They would dip their finger in ink to mark the ballot and would proudly march out and show their purple finger to anyone who would look. What makes this significant is that ISIS did not like this show in national pride and they would kill voters who had purple fingers as a show of intimidation to others. Iraqi citizens did not bow down to this intimidation because freedom outweighed their fear of ISIS. Here in the United States, the freedoms given to us by our forefathers are being eroded. Once gone, we may not get them back. Explain to your children and grandchildren what that WW2 medallion signifies.
We are looking to obtain ideas for a Korean Medallion as well so that we can take this program of recognition to the next phase. We are seeking design suggestions that represent the “Forgotten War”. We are taking ideas for the Korean Medallion until June 1st and with luck will have a finalized design ready to release by our conference in July. Speaking of the Conference, I hope to see all of you in San Antonio. It is shaping up to be the best event that we have had in many years. Don’t miss it. Details are on our website www.ncoausa.org.
If you have any ideas or suggestions, either contact headquarters or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can assure you that your leadership will take note.
Strength in Unity & Leadership By Example,
MCPO (SCW) Terry M. Haines
Chairman, International Board of Directors