The NumbersUSA staff had a fascinating, meaningful time at our Veterans Day lunch Tuesday, as each person recounted the broad stories of each veteran in his or her family. If you didn't do something like this at your place of work (or if you got the day off), I hope you will encourage it Wednesday. We become a true national community by our shared values and especially by shared sacrifices we make for each other. The stories must be shared for us to know. There are many kinds of community sacrifice to celebrate and recount, but this week belongs to the stories of those who donned the uniform in service of our country. (Remember that the special focus on those who died in service is reserved for Memorial Day.)
It was quite impressive at our luncheon to hear all but one person with stories of family service to share.
The exception was a woman with two immigrant parents, one of whom fled the Hungarian uprising against the Communists.
The actual immigrant on our Arlington, Virginia staff DID have stories to share. Adopted and moving from South America as a youngster, she proudly recounted the details of service of her American father and grandfather during WWII and Vietnam. In the best traditions of U.S. immigration, the stories of these Americans' valor were fully her story.
Amidst all the stories, were insights into all the branches of the military service. Relatives lost at sea, shot down over China, in the Battle of the Bulge, Korea, Morocco. Career officers, including a general. Rotating in and out of Iraq. Submarine duty. Service under Grant in the Western Campaign of the Civil War, and under Washington at Brandywine in the Revolution.
Each story prompted our armchair historians to debate various contextual analyses of the economic, international diplomacy and military strategy aspects. Everybody has a country. Ours is the United States of America. This is our history, in this case told through the family stories of our staff.
Some 14 of our staff were gathered in our Arlington conference room. We are in a cheap-rent building condemned to demolition but which has an amazing view of the Capitol Mall, all the monuments, plus parts of the Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon. We are constantly reminded of the on-going governmental representation of our national community and of those whose military service has helped protect our domestic democracy.
Our job at NumbersUSA is to enact sensible immigration policies. One primary purpose is to keep the immigration policies from deteriorating the national community for which every veteran accepted the call to be placed in harm's way.
To all of you who are veterans, NumbersUSA extends its gratitude and respect.ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Nov 20th 2008 @ 2:02pm EST