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Punctuating service and sacrifices.

When we communicate about particular periods of time, we tend to separate dates with the tiny and seemingly inconsequential "dash."

But sometimes the dash is the most important piece. For instance, let's consider our nation's history. The fighting for American independence began in 1775. It took until 1789 to establish our form of government and install George Washington as our first president.

Within that time frame, 1775-1789, the dash in the middle of those periods of time is what really counts. That's the period of time when soldiers died fighting for our freedom, when sacrifices were made, when names like Bunker Hill and Valley Forge were forever etched in the heart of every American. The dash contains the surrender at Yorktown and the signing of the Treaty of Paris. It's when debates between our founding fathers took place to establish this great experiment of a government responsible to the people. The dash represents what really matters.

For the second consecutive year, all DAV Departments and more than 80 percent of our Chapters met their recruiting goals. So, all DAV members can proudly say, "From 2012-2014, all of our Department recruiting goals were met."

My hope is in the coming year we can all say, "Every Department has met their recruiting goals from 2012-2015." I hope we'll be able to say this because of the dash.

That dash between those numbers represents the tremendous dedication that takes place between reporting periods. It represents a Chapter Service Officer starting a claim for benefits so a veteran's life can be enhanced. It stands for all of the volunteer work done on behalf of veterans in our communities. The dash symbolizes an experienced member mentoring a new veteran in our DAV family. It counts for members and supporters using DAV's Commander's Action Network to tell elected representatives where we stand on legislation affecting veterans and their families. The dash is a symbol of the hard work we do on behalf of fellow veterans every day.

That's not to say membership numbers aren't important--because they very much are.

Each new member we welcome into our fold is one more voice lending help to the great cause of ensuring our nation keeps its promises to ill or wounded veterans and their families.

But it's important for each of us to note that it's not just about the numbers. At next year's National Convention, where I hope to report, "Commander, from 2012-2015 all Department recruiting goals have been met," we're talking about something more important than just a period of time.

We're also talking about the dash.

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Author:Baskerville, Anthony L.
Publication:DAV Magazine
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2014
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