The annual Chicago Air and Water show has just ended. For the first time that I can remember, the show this year didn’t include a military presence. No Blue Angels, no Thunderbirds. No Leapfrogs and no Golden Knights. No fast-movers showing off the latest versions of our jets, and no slow-movers hovering over airshow centerline, showing the assembled throngs the capabilities of our helicopters.
Sequestration has taken its toll.
Military budget cuts are most often associated with the communities that have a strong military presence, and nearby bases. While there is no denying the impact on those communities, the hidden cost of sequestration is on communities that don’t have a regular military presence.
You see, Chicago isn’t a military town. We have something called Navy Pier, but it hasn’t had a connection with the Navy for more than a half century. We do have the Navy’s beautiful, state-of-the-art recruit training command 30 miles to the north, but it’s mostly a self-contained island of military, where the recruits come in briefly for training and then head elsewhere to serve.
Across America, there aren’t many cities like Norfolk or Colorado Springs. Most cities don’t have regular exposure to the military, except through their connections to the local sons and daughters who raise their right hands and head off to serve. And, in terms of the overall population, the number of Americans serving in the military is an incredibly small (>2%).
Value of Military Service
In spite of all of this, the Veteran community is intensely popular in America. Recent (2012) studies have shown that there has never been a group that is as popular with Americans as military Veterans. The Veteran Beer Company seeks to strengthen that connection between those that have served and the American public that honors their service. Our Veteran employees are ambassadors not just for our products, but for military service as well.
Budget cuts hurt, but the Veteran Beer Company will do its part to keep the value of military service in front of the broadest possible American audience.