#HonorThem | Happy Veterans Day & Thoughts from Ranger Up Devil Dog, Jack Mandaville

Veterans Day.
Remembrance Day.
A Day to #HonorThem and Thank a Veteran.
To Serve Those Who Serve.

I’ve had the privilege of working closely with our active-military, our veterans and their families for many years through Operation Supply Drop. Veterans Day is always tricky as the majority of the civilian population, of which I am a part of, doesn’t quite understand today, including what to say and how to act. Beyond the history, where Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” at the end of World War I, what is it about? Undoubtedly, it is about honoring, about thanking and about recognizing, but why only a today? We at OSD ask the same and hope today stands as a springboard for you to understand that every day is in fact a Veteran’s Day. Those who’ve answered freedom’s call deserve more than a hand shake, they deserve help, and you can provide it.

In your community, find your local VFW, American Legion, VA or local OSD chapter and ask how you can volunteer. If you’re a veteran yourself, there’s no reason you cannot do the same helping your fellow veterans who may be in a tough stop and need to be shown the way to a new purpose. Consider also making a donation in honor of a friend or family member who’s served so that OSD can continue to lead the way supporting thousands of veterans and their families in communities around the world.

Our veterans need you. They’re not completely broken, nor are they the unbreakable super hero to be put on a pedestal. They need your time and they need your care. After a great conversation with Jack Mandaville (USMC Veteran, Range 15 & Ranger Up) yesterday, he gave me permission to repost his personal reflections on his service and those he served along side.  Please read it below.

Thank you all for your service, it’s an honor to be able to work with and for you all.

Glenn Banton
CEO, Operation Supply Drop

Reposted with Permission from Jack Mandaville, November 10, 2016

I’ve slapped on a bunch of random emojis to offset the serious turn this thing is about to take.

Every year around the Marine Corps birthday and Veterans Day, my sister makes it a point to post images of me in the service because she knows I hate it. I’m going to be preemptive this year and beat her to the punch.

With every passing year I become more in awe of the men that I had the pleasure to serve with. It’s not because of the crazy, daring, and inspiring things they did in their youth–those four special years when we solidified our friendships. It’s because of the men they became after the military.

Americans crave two narratives with our veterans: 1) The Rambo-esque badass whose feats in war define him as a man, and 2) the broken and downtrodden loser who needs society’s sympathy.

I have seen neither of these things with the individuals I’ve known. What I’ve witnessed since 2002 is a group of extraordinarily special men experience things that are unexplainable, then go home to quietly build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. Among them are cops, welders, academics, engineers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, medical professionals, first responders, career military, social workers, consultants, teachers, real estate agents, students, and so on. Hell, one of those assholes ended up in a movie.

The way that they’ve loved their women and children is incredible, as well. To be with them now and see the way they dote on their wives and children is the polar opposite of encounters in their wild youth–the youth that film, television, and literature glamorizes while omitting the biggest story of it all: that their greatest service has been what they’ve overcome, fought for, and given out of uniform.

And when this time of year comes around, we reflect on the fallen with heavier hearts. The individuals who will not grow old, chubby, and content with us. They will forever be remembered in their youth–the peak of their physical existence. It’s bittersweet.

I am so lucky to live in the time I do. I’m so lucky that I get to go on Facebook, Instagram, and text messages and watch the men of Bravo and Charlie companies, 1st LAR build families, get promotions, and grow old.

Their friendship means more in peace than it ever did in war.

I’m glad to know you fellas. Happy birthday.