A sincere thank you to all of those who are serving or who have served in the US military. We live freely today because you put your life on the line to protect all that we hold dear.veterans day

“The Flag does not fly because of the winds that blow it,

The Flag flies because of each Soldier’s last breath blowing past.”

“For those who have fought and died for it,

freedom has a taste that the protected will never know.”

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him,

but because he loves what is behind him.”

– G. K. Chesterton

As some of you know, my holiday season begins with the Marine’s Birthday and Veterans Day.  The holiday season has always been a time for family and gratitude.  I always find it fitting that these two days to honor our heroes are in the same month as Thanksgiving.  So it is with tremendous honor and gratitude that I wish our Marines a Happy Birthday and our Veterans, past and present, a Happy Veterans Day.

On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour in 1918, a cessation of hostilities was honored and WWI came to its unofficial end. Veterans Day (then known as Armistice Day) began as a commemoration to acknowledge the heroism of those who died and to show gratitude for the WW1 victory. Over time, it evolved into an opportunity for Americans to show thanks to all of those who have served our nation in one of the armed forces, and to perpetuate peace and understanding amongst nations.

Our veterans are the heroes of this country’s past, and for that we should all show our gratitude today; but, please do not forget that they also have a key role in this country’s future. Let’s not allow our thankfulness to end with kind words, a handshake or a thoughtful social media post.

While expressions of gratitude are admirable and appreciated, what many of our veterans need most of all is a clear path to a civilian career… one that enables them to support themselves and continue making a contribution to this country by putting the invaluable skills they’ve acquired to work in small businesses and large corporations alike.

Did you know:

  • Within the next several years, over one million armed forces personnel are expected to transition from U.S. military to civilian life, including approximately 307,000 by August 2014.
  • Post-9/11 military veterans face an extremely high unemployment rate. 18-24 year old veterans’ unemployment rate is 18.4%, and the overall Post 9/11 rate is 10% (vs. 7.2% national unemployment rate).
  • Veterans possess many traits valuable to the workforce… proven ability to learn quickly and work under pressure, leadership and teamwork skills, strong work ethic and dedication.

We are honored to participate in the Wounded Warrior Project, the 100,000 Jobs Mission, and Operation Homefront, to name only a few.  In addition, we have numerous programs designed specifically to promote and aid transitioning veterans in finding jobs and other opportunities.

The Cisco Networking Academy provides innovative information and communications technology training to individuals all over the world, including more than 45,000 military personnel thus far, providing a pathway to ICT jobs, further education and globally recognized industry certifications.

The Cisco Veterans Program further enhances support for transitioning U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families in the areas of education, employment and health care. Meanhwhile, our Veterans Enablement and Troop Support (VETS) Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) continue to support both deployed and retired military personnel and their families.

In fact, just last week the VETS ERG hosted active duty and transitioning service members at the annual Veteran’s Corporate Technology Day (VCTD) across eight Cisco sites nationwide. During the all-day event, attendees heard personal stories of Cisco Veterans’ transitions, learned about opportunities with the Military Mentorship Program and the Cisco Networking Academy, and experienced Cisco technology firsthand by touring sites and connecting with other VCTD attendees during a multi-point TelePresence session.

We also created an in-house program dedicated solely to placing veterans in associate systems engineer (ASE) and associate sales representative (ASR) positions. Both of these initiatives provide additional entry points into Cisco and its partner organizations for some of the brightest military minds.

Through programs like the Cisco Networking Academy, 100,000 Jobs Mission and Futures, Inc, Cisco is helping transitioning military personnel find career and educational opportunities suited to their valuable and unique skills. For a glimpse at the impact these programs are making, please CLICK HERE.

All of this is to say that we greatly appreciate and are committed to our nation’s veterans, who have so bravely demonstrated their commitment to America.

From all of us, thank you for your service and your sacrifices.


Patrick Finn

No Longer at Cisco