Pride and Gratitude: How One Company is Honoring Its Veteran Employees

At STR, a veterans ERG is making space for stories to be told.

Written by Dana Cassell
Published on Nov. 14, 2023
 Pride and Gratitude: How One Company is Honoring Its Veteran Employees
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The federal holiday we know today as “Veteran’s Day” began as something slightly different. At 11pm on November 11, 1918 — the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month — a temporary cessation of hostilities between Germany and the allied nations went into effect, ending “the war to end all wars.” 

The United States honored that moment in 1919 by recognizing November 11 as “Armistice Day.” President Wilson declared, “to us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory…”

But the fact of war did not vanish after World War I. American soldiers continued to serve and sacrifice. In 1954, Congress amended the holiday’s title to “Veteran’s Day,” a way of emphasizing the importance of recognizing, honoring and championing that service and sacrifice.

At STR, a Veterans ERG is working to recognize and champion veterans year-round. Niles Cocanour, vice president of systems development, said that the annual Veteran’s Day luncheon is just one way the ERG helps connect and share stories.

In addition to the luncheon, the ERG is connecting with other employees who may not be as familiar with the armed services, expanding awareness and creating forums for veterans to share their stories. True to the roots of the holiday, STR is honoring veterans with pride and gratitude.

 

Niles Cocanour
Vice President, Systems Development • STR

STR makes the world a safer place by developing technology and applying it to solve emerging national security challenges.

 

How are you involved with your company's Veterans ERG and how has involvement enhanced your experience in the workplace?

I have been a part of the Veterans ERG since it was founded. We organize events around Memorial Day and Veterans Day to help other Veterans remember those we’ve served with as well as expand the awareness of those at STR who may not have first hand experience with the military community.

 

We organize events around Memorial Day and Veterans Day to help other Veterans remember those we’ve served with as well as expand the awareness of those at STR who may not have first hand experience with the military community.”

 

It has enhanced my experience by bringing me in contact with STR members who are either veterans or have an interest in learning more about veterans. I would otherwise have never had the chance to interact with these colleagues, or learn about their stories and why this community is of interest to them.

 

What is your ERG doing on Veterans Day to champion those who have served?

This will be the third year that STR, through the ERG, has a luncheon planned for its veterans. It will involve a few remarks by members of the ERG, but more importantly, it is meant to allow members of the STR community to meet and hear the stories from their colleagues who have served in the Armed Forces.
 

What other sort of programming or initiatives does your Veterans ERG hold beyond Veterans Day? 

Each year, the Veterans ERG hosts a Memorial Day ceremony. We solicit names of friends and family members who made the ultimate sacrifice; the ceremony remembering the fallen and their sacrifices is broadcast to the entire company. In addition, we are initiating events surrounding the service birthdays — the anniversary of each military branch’s founding — to expand our outreach beyond the immediate Veterans ERG members.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and STR

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