On the evening before Veterans Day, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted a book launch at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., for the newly launched book, “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice” written by Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz and Washington Post senior correspondent, Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

For Love of Country started as an idea Howard Schultz had after hearing Medal of Honor recipient SGT Leroy Petry talk about his traumatic wounding in Afghanistan. Afterward, Schultz was so overcome by Petry’s humility and integrity, he felt compelled to create a deeper awareness for those who have no direct or indirect contact with anyone who has served. Schultz wanted them to know people in the military community have much to offer.

capturing the spirit of service

He reached out to Rajiv Chandrasekaran to co-write a book of 10 remarkable and powerful stories that capture the spirit of service and sacrifice; and give real and inspirational examples of the dedication, sacrifice, honor, duty, and commitment, which is part of the military experience.

Panelists at the CNAS event included former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; General (Ret.) Peter W. Chiarelli, the 32nd Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; and the book authors.

Michèle Flournoy, co-founder and CEO of CNAS, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, gave opening remarks which captured the tone of the discussion encouraging civilians to support and honor the military community and veterans for their service; and recognize their value so that future generations will also be inspired to serve.

The major themes of the discussion were calls to action for awareness and education toward opening a dialogue, and touching the minds and hearts of the 95% of the nation who have no exposure or understanding into the lives and sacrifices of the military, veterans, and their families.

Veterans – not people to be pitied

A recurring need of the conversation was the need, not only to inspire, but to put out a call to action to the American public. First and foremost, a call to action for employers and those who can hire veterans. Not because they’re people who need to be pitied, but as people in the community who have much to offer.

The book highlights the need to connect veterans with their own communities – a critical method of doing so is through jobs. That’s why many corporations, including Starbucks, are stepping up their vows to hire veterans.

Consider the accomplishments, translate the skills

The call to action for employers is to consider the accomplishments, triumphs and struggles many in the military community have faced; and to see how those experiences can become the desirable qualities of a dedicated employee. Every business in America must understand the values veterans bring to the workforce, and to assist them in their transition back into society after their service.

Through storytelling, the authors wish to celebrate members of the military and give civilians examples of their spirit of service, so when they leave active duty, they don’t have to fear the thought of a civilian job interview more than another tour of duty in a combat zone.

Gates summed it up best, “We can’t allow this generation of veterans to be forgotten.”

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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.