Memorial Day is a very special holiday. A moment when we reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by many brave service men and women to safeguard our country and our freedom; defending our most basic rights including those to assemble and form our great Union.
As we continue to welcome back home American warriors from around the world, Memorial Day has taken on a new, more immediate meaning. These ranks of proud men and women who put their lives in harm’s way remind us that freedom is indeed fragile. However, it is a great tragedy that these selfless men and women still struggle to find jobs. In fact, more than twelve percent of Gulf War-era II veterans (those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq) continue to search for a means to support themselves and their families.
Our Union has always and will continue to be a bastion for veterans to provide for their future. That is why the Iron Workers are proud to help fund Helmets to Hardhats, an organization which connects veterans with careers in the construction industry. Since 2007, the Iron Workers Union has provided a career to more than 500 proud men and women in uniform, placing them in our award-winning training and apprenticeship programs. We recognize not only their service, but the valuable skills and work ethic learned from their military years. These opportunities represent a means for veterans to provide for themselves and their families—and to support American communities with fair wages and benefits.
Unions value family, community and our veterans. This Memorial Day, we honor the proud men and women who died to protect our nation. Please join me in this remembrance by thanking our veterans for their service.
Happy Memorial Day.
To learn more about Helmets to Hardhats, visit http://www.helmetstohardhats.org/.