Pete Hegseth is CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, an Arlington-based organization that advocates for veterans and preserving freedom, and currently serves in the Army National Guard. His organization is participating in multiple Memorial Day events this year, and as a veteran himself, he said it's extremely important for citizens to remember those who died while serving.
Why is Memorial Day so important?
Memorial Day isn't just about honoring veterans, its honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that's a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibly to serve. It's a continuation of service that honors our county and those who fell defending it. Veterans understand what we're fighting for and why we're fighting for it. I think when you serve alongside [soldiers] or you lose folks you're serving with, it reminds you about how precious life is.
What does your organization do for the holiday?
We collaborate with local organizations on Memorial Day on events that are happening locally, as opposed to holding our own events. They're largely small gatherings where we share stories about those we served with, and also use it as an opportunity to highlight the types of things we're doing. Whether that's a memorial service, giving a speech, hosting a lunch, going to a parade -- it's simple, basic, grassroots community stuff that we want to make sure we're honoring those who serve.
What did serving mean to you?
Everything. It changed my life in ways I could've never anticipated, in ways that truly reminded me of what's fundamentally important. ... I think standing and fighting and working alongside all of these people that raise their right hand and serve their nation ... really wipes away the distractions of some of the petty things we think are important at home.
- Kate Jacobson