By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2019 The Oklahoman
Each year on Memorial Day, we honor the military men and women who gave their lives serving our country. Memorial Day is so much more than just a day off work. It is an observation started 151 years ago by order of John Alexander Logan, a Civil War general who participated in eight campaigns, including twice as commander of the Army of the Tennessee. He was purported to be the favorite general of Ulysses S. Grant.
After the Civil War, Logan set forth General Order No. 11, designating May 30, 1868, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” First called Decoration Day, over time the name was changed to Memorial Day, which then became an official federal holiday in 1971.
A soldier, statesman, and patriot, Logan, a Midwesterner and volunteer from Illinois, went where he was sent and did his duty. After the war, he helped found and then served as second commander of the largest organization of veterans coming out of the Civil War, strengthening veterans influence and championing the cause of veterans until his death.
Logan went on to serve in the U.S. House and Senate (as both Democrat and Republican). Among his many memorials are five statues, a Fort in Colorado, and Logan County, Oklahoma, which was named after him.
Even as we stand reminded of the tremendous gratitude and debt that we owe those we’ve lost, this week of Memorial Day is also a time to affirm our respect and commitment to those in active military duty, their families, and the veterans and National Guard members who live and work in our communities today.
I was happy to see all the area attractions and museums that provided free admission to active duty military personnel and their families on Memorial Day weekend — and we can do so much more.
From startups to corporations, companies of all sizes across Oklahoma are looking for talented employees — individuals who know how to work on a team, solve problems, and figure out plans and new ideas when unexpected things happen.
That’s exactly what they teach in the military. With the leadership training and technical education that is such a big part of modern national defense, the skills that veterans learned in the military can be an ideal match for the civilian workplace.
During this week of Memorial Day, let’s renew our commitment to actively recruit veterans, to make every workplace in Oklahoma welcoming to veterans, and to be ever supportive of any unique challenges they may face. Let’s also be supportive of the spouses and children of those who are serving away from Oklahoma.
With gratitude and respect this week, as we lower flags and place flowers on graves, let’s further honor our fallen military heroes, by reaffirming our support of service men and women who are in our families, neighborhoods, and communities.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at [email protected]