This last fall my wife and I took a trip to Washington D.C. I am a museum-aholic so trips to our nation’s capital are always enjoyable for me. The weather was outstanding and my wife and I were strolling down the National Mall. As we came upon the National World War II Memorial, I encountered a person who has become increasingly rare: a World War II veteran. He was wearing a baseball cap that signified the ship he served on with various pins attached and carried himself like many other men I have known from the Greatest Generation. Having him there made our tour special.
If you are my age or older you have had the privilege of encountering a great number of World War II veterans. They were our community leaders, teachers and pastors during our formative years. In fact, when I first started my business career, World War II veterans were my clients. My very first client was a United States Army captain during the Battle of the Bulge.
I learned a lot about business from this generation. Here are a few of my observations:
- They had a very healthy attitude regarding debt or the lack thereof.
- They invested in their businesses. Their facilities were clean, neat and efficient.
- They treated their employees with respect and dignity.
- They had a heightened sense of patriotism coupled with a sense of community.
- They were understated in their expression of wealth.
- They were committed to their families.
- They were loyal in their business relationships.
- They took their responsibilities very seriously.
- They did not like the limelight and downplayed their accomplishments.
I believe a lot of these traits can be attributed to their service to our country. We became better as a nation because of their contributions. We owe them a great deal.
A lot of their friends did not make it back and for that we will remember them on Monday.