Memorial Day Message From the Executive Director
Aaron M. Phillips | USMC Veteran
Executive Director |The Warrior Connection
As a veteran and staunch ally for veterans and military families, much like me, I’m sure you’re thinking about the significance of the upcoming holiday weekend. For many of my friends, family, and fellow service persons, Memorial Day can be a tough one. Especially amid the time of year that is usually marked by cookouts, family trips, and time amongst friends, that since the onset of COVID, have been but a memory.
Memorial Day’s true spirit is one of remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation while in uniform. Although, of course, during this unprecedented pandemic, our hearts also turn toward those essential workers, first responders, and medical professionals, and their families who have been sacrificing their own health in service to others.
Since 9/11, nearly 8,000 military members, DOD civilians, and military contractors, all US citizens, have paid the ultimate price for our country on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost 16,000 more service members have died in activities unrelated to America's ongoing wars (the majority of which from issues relating to substance abuse, motor vehicle accidents, and training incidents). And, during that same period, while estimates range, approximately 130,000 veterans have died from suicide. Please take a moment to let that sink in.
As a country, we owe it to our fallen to remember them and to care for those who have served this great country that are still with us. Many with wounds on the inside - moral injuries that remain unhealed. Some of those wounds have remained untreated for years, others for decades. These are the wounds that The Warrior Connection works to help heal. Of the hundreds of veterans that have attended our programs, we have not lost one, NOT ONE, to suicide.
Most of our staff and volunteers at The Warrior Connection are military veterans or military family members. Therefore, like you, today we are thinking about the true meaning of Memorial Day. Our work to support veterans and their families is our great privilege. And, we can only do this as a team, with partners, with other organizations, and with support from folks you.
On behalf of all of our staff and volunteers, we thank you for your unwavering support and commitment. Please know TWC is as committed as ever to do whatever we can to support you and the veteran community.
On this day of remembrance, I will speak their names, I will honor their memory in a positive way, and I will continue to live my life like I know they are expecting me to - in service to others and our community.
Aaron M. Phillips | Executive Director
United States Marine Corps | Veteran
The Warrior Connection, Inc.