Honoring our Veterans

Each year on Nov. 11, the world pauses to honor members of the armed forces who have served their country since World War I.

Armistice Day, as it was first known, became an official holiday in Britain in 1919 on the first anniversary of the peace treaty. It later became a national holiday in several European countries and the United States. In the U.S., Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

What does Veterans Day mean to me? I have 6 family members (3 grandparents and 3 uncles) who have served, or are currently serving, to protect our freedom.

My favorite story comes from my paternal grandfather, Joseph V. Schember. He served as a sergeant with the U.S. Army (88th Division Artillery) during WWII and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in North Africa and the liberation of Italy.

I can still hear him telling me this story: “Of course, because I was the only one who spoke Italian, I was appointed the mayor of a small town in Italy called Bolzano, after we liberated it. I had to do things like issue permits for people to ride their bikes.”

operating_the_radio.jpg

I can’t wait to make it over there and see his mayoral handwriting in the town ledger!

I never would have imaged my grandfather was the mayor of town in Italy. So that got me thinking, how many Avaya employees have served their nation without ever saying anything about it?

What does Veterans Day mean to Avaya? Avaya is a proud supporter of veterans around the world.

In fact, every member of the security staff at our Westminster, Colorado office location is a veteran, and several of them have served on multiple combat tours. Pictured below is Jose Acosta, United States Army, Military Police, Firefighter and Chaplain, and current Swing Shift Security Officer at Avaya.

Acosta, Jose.jpg

We asked veterans companywide to share their stories of service with us. Visit the Avaya Facebook page to view profiles of active employees who have served with honor.

Also check out the SlideShare deck below made by my colleague Luke Stangel to read more of their wartime stories.

To the thousands of veterans who go unnamed: Thank you for all you do! Bravo Zulu!