What I Said at the Detroit Wounded Warrior Project Gala

Mar 27, 2019

By Emily Ferstle, City Impact Manager

I was honored to be invited to speak at the Wounded Warrior Project Gala in Detroit on February 16, 2019, in Detroit. The event brought together 80 warriors and guests from across the Midwest and Rust Belt, to honor and remember all those who have served.

The theme of the event was “the Roaring 20s” to honor the 100 year anniversary of the end of WWI, which we just celebrated this past Veterans Day, or “Armistice Day” on November 11.

One hundred years ago, the service members returning home from the most devastating war mankind had ever seen infused the economy and social life with new vibrancy. The period we now call the “Roaring 20s” began as soon as those first troops returned home. They had survived a brutal war that claimed over 16 million lives (7 million civilians, 10 million military personnel).

With a little deployment money in their pockets, it was a great time to be alive. Perhaps today’s veterans can relate. Communities celebrated their return in Gatsby-style. With this same enthusiasm, we welcome our veterans home. The difference is that we have traded fringe for tool belts and pin stripes for cargo jeans.

My message to the warriors of the gala was that, just like those returning home 100 years ago, veterans today are making their communities better places by their presence.

Whether you join us in supporting neighborhoods in Baltimore reclaim vacant lots and a sense of community identity during Mass Deployment this summer or join us at an upcoming platoon event in your city, we thank you for being a driving force for positive change.

The presence alone of veterans makes our communities better. The commitment of veterans makes our communities stronger. The leadership of veterans transforms them.

My only caveat is to call out that it will never be my place to tell a room of veterans that they should serve. They have already done that. The world can ask nothing further of them than that which they have already willingly given. For that, they have my deepest gratitude. My place is only to reassure you that you can serve again, and The Mission Continues is here if you choose to do so.

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