Valuing our Veterans-What really matters?

I will digress from my current topic to speak on something that is a little different, but for the best of reasons.

First, let me say Thank You to all of our veterans!  As Americans we are extremely fortunate and blessed to have each and every one of you to thank for making our country the greatest example of freedom every known on this world.  I also say thank the families of those who have paid the ultimate price for giving their lives in the service and defense of our country.

My point today is to give evidence that we do not “practice what we preach” when we talk about those who really make a difference in our lives.  My intent is not to degrade one profession when compared with another, but it is to show that we need to really get our priorities in when we discuss how we really thank those who make a difference.

Let’s look at some data first to start the discussion.  The numbers below show the average salary of a number of professions I think provide great value and service to our community:

  • Enlisted personnel-US Armed Forces:  $18-35K per year base salary
  • Elementary teacher:  $36K (national average-NEA)
  • Fireman:  $43K
  • Policeman:  $52K
  • EMT:  $40K
  • Professional baseball player:  $1.9 million per year
  • Professional football player:  $3.2 million per year
  • Professional basketball player:  $5.1 million per year

Again, the intent is not to degrade the bottom three roles, but it is to show that we need to find a better way to reward and thank those who are at the top of the list.  Many of those toward the top put their lives on the line, each and every day, to make our lives more “normal”.

I do fully realize that the average career length of a professional athlete is substantially less than the other roles, but the way our society provides adulation and praise for athletes when compared to the other part of the list, I sometimes pause and wonder where our priorities lie (mine too!).

So today, let’s turn the page, and thank those who really make a difference in our lives.

Stop a veteran and thank them.

When you see a teacher, firefighter, EMT or police officer, thank them.

Let’s not just celebrate Veterans Day, let’s celebrate their service every day, week and month.

Have a great Veterans Day!

Thanks also to my late father, Robert Louis (Dewey) Ryan.  Make that PFC Ryan, USMC, a veteran of WW II, with service in Iwo Jima (3rd Marine Corps Division), Guam and the Marshall Islands.

It is my prayer that a small part, if not a large part, of who I am and will be has come from your penchant for serving others.