Not exactly a day of celebration here in Germany, but yesterday was Veterans Day (or Armistice Day as I prefer to call it), marking the end of the World War I and a day in the USA to remember the sacrifice of all veterans living and dead. As I read with interest about the placing of 888,246 poppies around the Tower of London, signifying each British military death in WWI, it was a but a small reminder of the millions of lives lost over the centuries due to war.
Thankfully, most veterans survive war but the return to civilian life is often a burdensome adjustment. Naturally, airlines are a good fit for many returning veterans, with pilot and mechanic jobs that harvest the skills gained in the military. But that’s not all. Having spent over three years in the Air Force, the military also presents a remarkable laboratory of diversity and a prime environment to build leadership and critical thinking skills. Put simply, while military service does not magically make someone more qualified in a civilian job, it often provides a great advantage.
United Airlines points out this reality and salutes veterans in this 60-second spot that will be shown this month onboard many United flights prior to the safety video:
You might argue this is crass commercialism here, with UA playing on the heartstrings of a generally pro-military US public to drum up business, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt here: I have met so many former military pilots at United and for the most part (not sure if my infamous EWR-IST pilot was ex-military) these have been tremendous men and women. Far better than cheering for troops is giving them jobs when they finish their service – United does give former military members far more than lip service and that is a good thing.