Complete as many Double-unders as possible in 10 minutes
Every so often we come across a workout named after a fallen soldier, police officer or firefighter. The "Hero WOD" is meant to serve as a token reminder, a simple gesture of gratitude, for those who valued a cause or another life above their own. These workouts will always be remembered, first and foremost, for the face and story behind the name.
However, sometimes I feel we can do better than this. Organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project help our returning soldiers with the same type of dedication and selflessness which, conversely, defines the lives and careers of the very men and women they serve. The work that organizations like WWPprovide is vital, especially when considering the following statistics:
Today, roughly 1 percent of American families experience the uncertainty and heartache associated with having a loved one serve in the military. These families bear all the burden, and sometimes pay the ultimate cost. And for those that do return, how does society repay these brave men and women? The unemployment rate among all returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan actively seeking work is almost 11 percent. The unemployment numbers for young male veterans, 18 to 24, is more distressing: 27 percent.
This is a far cry from the World War II era. During my grandparents generation a majority of Americans fought and sacrificed for a cause greater than themselves: from the workers toiling in the sweltering steel mills of the Midwest, to the soldiers crossing the frigid Atlantic and beyond, to the young nurses stationed overseas who steadfastly worked within earshot of a ghastly cacophony of mechanized weaponry colliding with vulnerable bodies. This was a time of unspeakable tragedy, but also one of unprecedented unity.
Today, America is still engaged in two wars. As these wars begin to wind down and our soldiers come home, we must step up. Even if you stand morally opposed to these conflicts, or all militaristic action, there are simple things that we can all do to make the return for these men and women a little more welcoming. If you know a military veteran, police officer or firefighter don't just tritely say, "Thank you for your service." As a former West Point lecturer recently wrote, that's mere "lip service". Instead, express your appreciation through acts of gratitude: watch their kids one evening, pick up some coffee for them, maybe help with some yard work, or surprise them with a hot home cooked meal. While these actions may seem small when juxtaposed to such prodigious sacrifice, I guarantee they mean a hell of a lot more than cheap flag pins and yellow ribbon bumper stickers.