Today is Memorial Day in the USA, a day to honor members of the armed forces who died in service to their country.
Each year, I share the Memorial Day message that United CEO Oscar Munoz sends to his employees. For reference, you can also read the 2017 and 2018 notes. Munoz’s 2019 note focuses on how United celebrates Memorial Day and how that impacted one employee in particular:
This weekend, millions of Americans will travel far and wide to pay respects to all those who’ve fallen in service to our country. We are blessed as a United family with the skills of so many colleagues who’ve worn the uniform, which is why we always go above and beyond to mark Memorial Day. We do more than simply fly people to reach military cemeteries and battlefields. We also use our reach and resources as a global airline to contribute to these celebrations year-round in a way that is “uniquely United.”
For example, this past winter, United shipped more than 10,000 wreaths to CDG (Paris) that were then delivered to Normandy to pay tribute to American service members who died during the D-Day landings, which took place 75 years ago this June. On a rainy, cold December morning, members of our United for Veterans business resource group stood among the rows of marble headstones, the silent sentinels that mark the final resting places of more than 9,000 young men and four women who died reclaiming a continent for liberty.
The impact these events have on our colleagues who take part in them is deeply moving. Operations and Military Recruiting Manager Michelle Saunders, herself a veteran, was so inspired she wrote to me: “As a combat veteran who has wrestled with PTSD and survivor’s guilt, this experience has brought such a sense of liberation to my own service, soul and heart. It’s reshaped my purpose to serve others by sharing my experiences, underscoring the significant cost of freedom, and by carrying on the legacy of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Most of all, this experience has allowed space for my own combat demons to shift into shadows.”
From the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor to the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, from Arlington to Gettysburg to Iwo Jima, United will play a vital role in making poignant moments like these possible. It’s one more way that we express our gratitude for the sacrifices made on our behalf, and it is a solemn reminder that there is truly more that unites us than divides.
While we continue to operate at peak safety and efficiency during this busy holiday weekend, I hope we all find time to pay some small devotion to all those soldiers who themselves gave the last full measure of devotion to our country.
I share these notes each year because they are very well-written and a proper reminder that there is “truly more that unites us than divides.”
Thinking about Normandy and the laying of wreaths brought back poignant memories of my own visit to the sands of Omaha and Utah beaches along the western coast of France.
Let us all stop and take a moment to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, some who volunteered, some who were simply sent. Looking beyond WWII, the legitimacy of the wars themselves do not denigrate the price of the lives that were lost in them.
> Read More: A Unforgettable Trip To Normandy Via Brittany Ferries
>> Read More Of My Annual Memorial Day Posts: