VetFran was grateful to have Dr. Schwertner join US Representative John Carter, franchise industry leaders, the Texas VFW, the Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans and IFA on the south steps of the Texas Capitol on November 12th to announce progress towards Operation Enduring Opportunity’s goals and premiere a video about VetFran.
Senator-Elect Schwertner offered the following remarks:
Good morning and welcome to the Texas State Capitol.
I’m Dr. Charles Schwertner, State Representative for House District 20 and Senator-elect for Senate District 5. It is a true privilege to be here this morning to celebrate Veteran’s Day and to recognize an incredible program like Operation Enduring Opportunity.
Today, we gather to honor the brave men and women who have served our nation in the U.S. Armed Forces. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines serve as the backbone of our national security, the foundation of our freedom, and the guardians of our liberty. Collectively, they represent the greatest and most professional fighting force in history, and they have kept our nation strong, prosperous and free for over 237 years.
As the son of a veteran, this is a day that always strikes a personal chord with me. My father is a retired B-52 bomber/navigator in the United States Air Force, and a man who proudly defended his country – our country – for over 23 years. He served three tours of duty in Vietnam, and logged over 1000 combat hours in the U.S. Strategic Air Command – the unit of bombers who carried our nation’s offensive nuclear deterrent during the Cold War.
As a young boy, I often worried and wondered about my father…but I also felt an immense pride in knowing that – although he put himself in great danger, he did so for a reason greater than himself.
As a nation, we ask our men and women in uniform to make some remarkable sacrifices in defense of our freedom. But perhaps none so great as the sacrifice of those loved ones left behind – a sacrifice shared and deeply understood by those of you with us here today.
No holiday, no speech, no tribute will ever serve to sufficiently repay these warriors for the many sacrifices their country has asked of them. Many of these heroes face a long and challenging return to the life they left behind. Some face difficult recoveries, from injuries both seen and unseen. Far too many will not return home at all.
And yet, even those seemingly unscathed by the horrors of war face other challenges when returning from duty: an economy in decline, a diminishing middle class, and an unforgiving job market.
With the unemployment rate of our returning veterans at nearly 20% – we simply must do a better job of caring for those who have cared for us. They have fought to provide us with not only our freedom, but the opportunity to determine our own success…and they, more than most, deserve that same opportunity.
That’s why programs like the International Franchise Association’s Operation Enduring Opportunity mean such a great deal to our men and women in uniform. One year ago today, the International Franchise Association launched an industry-wide campaign with a straightforward goal – to recruit 75,000 veterans and 5,000 wounded warriors as team members or franchise business owners by the end of 2014.
By offering opportunities for employment and small business ownership, Operation Enduring Opportunity has taken the lead in ensuring that the sacrifices made by our veterans do not go unappreciated and that their civilian success is not hindered by their military service.
As we celebrate this Veterans Day, I am proud to join with the International Franchise Association and Operation Enduring Opportunity to help in their mission to ease our veterans’ transition back to civilian life, locate career opportunities for them here at home, and help them to realize their full and demonstrated potential after their military career has come to a close.
To IFA and Operation Enduring Opportunity – I thank you for what you are doing…you saw an injustice in the world and sought to make a change. Your sense of duty and moral responsibility towards our nation’s heroes is a model for all American business to emulate.
To the assembled veterans in the crowd – I thank you for your selfless and committed service in defense of freedom’s cause. You represent the very best of a generation and embody the fighting Texas spirit of which we are all so proud.
And to the rest of you – I thank you for having me today. May God bless you all, and through you, may God continue to bless the United States of America.