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Veterans Day

We all have a loved one who served in the military. Their stories teach us, inspire us, and remind us of what our country stands for. They teach us about sacrifice, about courage, and about determination.

That is why Veterans Day is so important and also so personal. It’s a day to remember those who sacrificed everything to serve our great country. For me, it’s a time for me to remember and to honor the sacrifices of my brother. When he returned home from service in the Vietnam War, I was still very young. He never talked about the hardships of his service, even as we grew older together.  And while it was hard for me to accept that I will never know everything there is to know about my brother, I also realize that his silence is his story. And I accept and honor that.

This year is the fifth anniversary of President Obama's signing of the Executive Order on Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government. The EO made helping veterans transitioning into civilian Federal employment a top priority, and since then, we have made tremendous progress. According to OPM’s report, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch for FY 2013, 24 percent of total hires government-wide were veterans in 2009 and that rate increased to 31 percent in 2013. That is the highest percentage of veterans since the mid-1970s. It’s a great accomplishment. But we still have more work to do.

We have veterans transitioning to civilian life from service in Iraq, Afghanistan and other postings following several years – and often multiple tours of duty – during the war on terrorism. They bring home with them a wealth of skill, talent, and expertise, not to mention such workplace intangibles as self-discipline, work ethic and team-minded approaches to solving problems. Many of them have whole careers ahead of them still, and they want to continue to serve their country. I am absolutely committed as the Director of OPM to making sure that we give these veterans, who served their country so nobly in the military, a chance use their skills and their talents to continue their mission of service. I know that we are better for it.

This year, I think about my brother and how proud I am of him. And I think about, and honor, all you who have served in the military and who are continuing to serve in the Federal government. Keep sharing your stories. We need to hear them. 


Posted 10:45 AM by
Today our Nation honors each of you, America’s veterans, who have served so faithfully and honorably. We pause to remember the sacrifices our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen have made in serving our Nation where and when you were needed. Veterans Day is more than a holiday; it is a day of heartfelt appreciation to all who have served our great country in the Armed Forces.

In his Veterans Day Proclamation, President Obama has been clear: 

"Under the most demanding of circumstances and in the most dangerous corners of the earth, America's veterans have served with distinction. With courage, self-sacrifice, and devotion to our Nation and to one another, they represent the American character at its best. On Veterans Day and every day, we celebrate their immeasurable contributions, draw inspiration from their example, and renew our commitment to showing them the fullest support of a grateful Nation."


For the full text of the Proclamation, click here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/05/presidential-proclamation-veterans-day-2013.

One way we at OPM honor our Nation’s promises is by making Federal civilian employment opportunities available when our servicemen and women lay their uniforms down.  This is not only a matter of honor; the courage, integrity, and determination that you displayed in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard makes you ideal candidates for Federal service.  Every American benefits from retaining the dedication, leadership, skills, and abilities veterans have honed in the fast-paced, dynamic environments of our armed services.

And, in the words of John F. Kennedy, “ As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

It has been four years since President Obama established the Veterans Employment Initiative, and OPM continues to lead the charge to honor and appreciate your service by ensuring that you have the opportunity to continue your service to this great Nation as Federal civilian employees.

On behalf of our Nation and its people, I thank you for your service – past, present, and future.

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