A Veterans Day Message from Agile Six CEO Robert Rasmussen
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” -Abraham Lincoln
When folks thank me for my service on Veterans Day, I usually respond, “My pleasure,” and then, “Thank you for the job.” Having grown up poor, I enlisted out of necessity as much as patriotism. Like many service members, the military was my best shot at an education and steady wage. So when someone says thank you, my honest response is gratitude for the job that fed my family for seven years.
As service members, we thankfully accept jobs to feed our families, and in turn we “write a blank check” to Uncle Sam. We take an oath and agree to be governed by a different code (the UCMJ). We do as we’re told and go where we’re sent. We go into places we know are unsafe – for me, this meant night operations on a flight deck, aircraft fires, gas-chamber training, and cryogenics environments, to name just a few. We follow orders when training, when fighting, and even when taking leave with our families. These orders save lives, preserve nations, and secure national interests.
We follow these orders, and in doing so, we make our sacrifices. We miss the births of our children, anniversaries, and college graduations. We lose our mental and physical wellbeing, limbs, and life. We accrue debts that cannot be repaid.
When we enlist, we do not expect repayment of these debts. Rather, we make a sacred implied promise with our country. We agree to write our blank checks knowing that in exchange for our sacrifices, our country will take care of us and our families – that our nation's resources, which we fought to protect, will be at our disposal when we need them. After all, in the military, we “leave no one behind.”
But too often our country fails to deliver on its side of this promise. As service members, we write their checks, but the price of repayment is too much for our political will. Our country enjoys the constitutional freedoms we protect – free speech, freedom of movement, even self-preservation – while we struggle to get the benefits and treatments we need to be healthy. We see our former shipmates left homeless and hungry. And to be quite honest, in a world where such denials are commonplace, gestures like Veterans Day and “thank you for your service” ring hollow.
At Agile Six, we are committed to building better for our Veterans. We recently won a contract to help our country deliver on its promise to provide healthcare and benefits for Veterans who suffer from toxic exposure. I personally could not be more proud to support the delivery of these long overdue obligations. We will work quickly and carefully to create a user-friendly experience that fulfills our country’s sacred promise, and in doing so, restores some goodwill and trust in this community.
So on this Veterans Day, I would like to thank all my fellow Veterans for the blank checks they wrote: for following orders, for safeguarding our homeland while being homesick, for missed holidays and family events, and for the many injuries they now endure as a result. I also want to thank their families and friends who missed them then and care for them now. And because no level of gratitude would ever be enough, at Agile Six we’ll be doing the hard work to ensure that our country truly leaves no Veteran behind.
Finally, as we honor our nation’s Veterans this month, I would like to introduce a few of our Sixer Veterans. In the coming weeks, please watch for Sixer Spotlight interviews with Athena Bozak and Edmund Dunn. They will share some of the great work they do for their fellow Veterans in a few of our other projects.
~ PO2 (AW) Robert Rasmussen, USN 1991-1998