Delivered by Constance Milstein to the Inaugural Class of Dog Tag Fellows on November 19, 2014
It is with great pride and warmth that I speak to you this afternoon as your Jewish Godmother.
Not as a business woman. Not as the daughter and granddaughter of veterans, but just as me.
I personally want to thank you once again for your service to our country, for your spirit and bravery, and for your years in the active military of the United States of America.
Not only have I had the privilege to speak and listen to you describe your military lives, but also to hear your thoughts about your “tour of duty” here with us at Dog Tag.
I know that the transition from military to civilian life is not an easy one. You have told me of the challenges you have faced. And I am proud to say you have dealt with them and you are ready to make your next move. As my father did when he boarded the hospital plane coming home to the US in 1945.
He told me about all of the other veterans who rode back home with him in hammocks and on stretchers. I remember the day he showed me a dollar bill, which everyone on the plane signed. So they would always remember that trip, and each other. When he passed away, not even a month after 9/11, my mother showed me his wallet, and that dollar bill which he had carried with him all those years.
It is because of him, the friends I lost in Vietnam, and those who continue to defend our freedom today, that I am dedicated to our military, and to helping empower and care for our military families.
Men and women like you, and families like yours.
I hope our program has given you the tools which you will need to succeed, as you chose what role you will pursue in the future.
Most importantly, I hope we have given you the confidence to follow your dreams, whatever they may be.
Finally, let me share with you some practical advice that my father gave to me.
- Find an opening and try to fill it.
- Consider and combine what you know, with what you are passionate about.
- Take risks – but only calculated ones.
- When you have a great idea, go after it, and make it even better.
In closing, as the President, First Lady, Dr. Biden and the Vice President say and do – join forces. Don’t be afraid to work together.
I believe that Father Curry and I are stronger as a team than we were working separately. We have the ability to make a bigger difference, and positively impact the lives of more men and women like your selves.
This is how big things happen.
So now it is your turn to make things happen. And I know that you can. And I am certain that you will.
Congratulations Dog Tag Class of 2014. Good luck. We love you.