By Mark Oliva
It is a privilege to grow old. That might sound counterintuitive to a culture that celebrates youth and the possibilities of new beginnings. This Veterans Day, though, we take a moment to honor those who know this privilege all too well.
The firearm industry is a unique place in our nation’s connection to our veterans. Many in our ranks are filled by those who served in the military’s ranks. It is an umbilical connection, I suppose. A profession in arms traded for another profession in arms. Our industry is filled with men and women who carried a gun in defense of our nation.
Now, they’re in the business of providing Americans with the means of exercising their God-given right to keep and bear arms. They make the shotguns and the rifles that veterans across America are using to teach their children and grandchildren of their hunting heritage and blessings of freedom. Some among them produce the rifles and handguns our military carries today.
Those veterans continue to serve the military in a life after their time in uniform.
In Our Ranks
The firearm industry, and even here at NSSF, knows we are blessed to work alongside those who served in peace and in war. They’ve stood guard and fought for their lives. They’ve celebrated life, both in the victories and the losses. Some bear scars, even though not all of them are visible.
They’re all forever changed, though. Life has a certain sweetness when an individual has been faced with the reality of how fleeting and precious it can be. We take this day, once a year, to honor them. They’re the ones who have preserved our freedoms for 244 years.
They’ve kept this experiment in democracy alive, standing in the gap, facing sometimes insurmountable odds and knowing they were ready to sacrifice their own lives if necessary. It is a debt our nation can never truly repay. For this one day, though, we pause to honor them.
In firearm production factories and corporate headquarters across the nation, veterans are a fixture. Their hands are literally busy manufacturing the freedoms we value in our nation. Those veterans are a critical asset to our companies, just as they are to our national character.
Their contribution to our Second Amendment rights, our hunting heritage and recreational shooting sports is indelible. Our nation is richer because of them and our industry flourishes because of them.
Everyday Heroes, Every Day
These veterans know the privilege of growing old. They’ve sacrificed. They’ve honored fallen patriots. They carry with them their memories, their legacies and their charge to live a life worthy of their sacrifices.
The firearm industry collectively, and NSSF in particular, takes this day to celebrate that we have such men and women and that we get to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them. A single day might not seem enough. For the veterans among us, though, that handshake, the cold drink, the pat on the back and the simple “thank you” is invaluable.
It is a privilege to have served a nation that values its veterans. It is a privilege to have served alongside fellow veterans, even through some of the most challenging of days. It’s also a privilege to work in an industry that knows – and lives – this each and every day.
Mark Oliva is Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industries. He is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant with 25 years of service, including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Albania, and Zaire.
My grandfathers were in the Army (communications) and Army Air Corp (B-17 bomber pilot) during WWII. Though others in my family line after them have served, including some newer than I in the generational tree (such as my nephews), none have served in combat as did my grandfathers.
My family holds them in utmost regard, so much so that I have a bronze bust of my (AAC pilot) grandfather in my house, commissioned and created by an artist.
My gratitude to those who served, to those who sacrificed, and to those who gave all…for me and mine to live free. I stand ready to do my part, if it ever becomes necessary, as a civilian to protect and defend.
God Bless the Men and Women of the United States Armed Services.
GOD bless our veterans. My son is a middle east vet. My uncle Bob(RIP) was at Pearl Harbor. Served on the SS Pruitt. My dad’s 2 older brother’s went to France in 1918. Both got deathly ill from Spanish Flu. One died from lingering after effects in 1939.
Happy Veterans Day all! Thank you for keeping us safe and coming back home to enjoy the freedom we all treasure. Thank You.
It’s a privilege to serve a nation that honors its veterans.
that Rome burnt centuries ago.
True. The (d0t)guv sees us only as a threat. See VA collusion actions to remove combat Vet rights because PTSD for details.
I’d submit that anyone killing another human that suffers no wrestling with the burden of conscience is clearly the unstable one. That is symptomatic of psycho or sociopath tendencies. The normal mind bears the onus of every single one.
Thanks to all my brothers and sisters in arms, you are never forgotten.
I’d like to see that day when no veteran is homeless or suffering from PTS or TBI because they receive the care they need and deserve. I’d like to see the day when every VA hospital provides state of the art care for veterans who are sick or wounded. I’d like to see that day when veterans get the respect they deserve not just from us, but from the government that used them until it used them up.
Our veterans put everything on the line. They deserve better than what they get.
How many years will it take to trea/compensate today’s troops for damage to their bodies from the toxic slop that Obiden/Austin/Milley forced in them as a “vaccine”.
Agent Orange took decades as did burn pits.
Try again neiowa. George H.W. Bush was president for the 1st Gulf War. That’s when the first harmful immunizations were given.
Shame that veterans that signed up years ago are now forced to risk their lives to defend this former great country, that is now a shit-show of a circus, half filled with fucking idiots who elect dementia patients, whores, mental defectives and dead people.
Even worse, those that gave their lives must be turning over in their graves.
Stupidity has killed this country.
The right to be stupid shall not be Infringed.
And everyone knows. You Can’t Fix Stupid.
I can think of 7.62 ways to stop stupid.
You can stop it. You cannot fix it.
I served in the ARMY from 1983 to 1986, it was only three years, but those three years dramatically changed my life. When stationed in Korea, I remember what a Sgt. told me: “The best defense is a honest life”. It was very true, now in my 60’s, those words served me well. Best thing I ever did was to sign up. When you join the military, you give up your rights, everything you have, up to and including your life. let that sink in. The toughest times will define you as a person. Just an opinion, your mileage will vary.
The BEST way to thank a Veteran?
It’s not difficult.
Be an American citizen that the Vet would consider WORTH dying to protect.
This applies to the Con-mander in Chief and Generals too.