American Battle Monuments Commission battles Families of our WWII fallen

IMG_22942015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. This year is filled with anniversary milestones marking the end of fighting in Europe and in Asia, liberations of countless POW camps and concentration camps, celebrating the valor of those whose served and survived, and remembering those we lost.

Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson, Medic with Patton’s 3rd Army, liberated Buchanwald Concentration Camp

This year of historic anniversaries surrounding the final events of WWII is being celebrated by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) by canceling a long-held service honoring those who paid the absolute price for our freedom. It is a simple effort that the ABMC is throwing out of their budget, but to thousands of families, this small effort is a major loss and disrespectful to the memories of the heroes buried overseas.

The service that is squeezed out of the budget is the simple laying of flowers at the gravesite of our WWII heroes, along with a photo that is taken of the grave and emailed to the family member. The flowers are paid for by the families, not by the government.

There were over 200,000 children in the United States that were orphaned by WWII. Many now members of AWON, American WWII Orphans Network.

DSC08819 (2)This simple act of respect performed on behalf of the families that cannot travel to Normandy (Normandy is one of many battlefield cemeteries) on a regular basis to visit their father or grandfather’s grave in person, have had the availability of a US serviceman or woman, who is already serving overseas, to lay the flowers on their behalf.

Thanks to this budget cut, the families must now rely on a localCrew 01 florist to do this, taking away the reverence and respect of having one of our own honoring our fallen.

This lack of respect, lack of understanding, and lack of just about any decency I can imagine shown by the removal of this service is astounding to me.

Who made this decision? Why weren’t the families included in the decision? Perhaps they could have paid an additional fee on top of the floral fee to keep this service going? Who was involved in this budget cut? The answer: someone who doesn’t understand why we fought, who we fought, and what price was paid.

When was it ok to stop honoring our fallen heroes?
Thanks to Emily Longnecker with WTHR13 for doing a piece on this important topic. She was the FIRST media to address this with the ABMC. No other news organization has touched it…yet.

Bankers Aren’t All Boring…

David Becker PhotoThe indelible statement, “they can’t eat you”, spoken to David Becker when he started his first business by his all-knowing grandfather, while it may be an obvious truth, instills confidence to leap into the unknown. The bit of advice is truly powerful, simplistic, and hilarious – all at the same time.

As a storyteller, every once in a while I have the pleasure of meeting a kindred soul who can’t shut up. This was the case with David Becker.

Before the Launch Fishers’ Failfest event last November, I overheard several tech geeks discussing how surprised they were that Becker was a keynote. I wasn’t clear what the big deal was, aside from having a CEO of a NASDAQ-traded company address a group of entrepreneurs and techies. My first reaction was, “big deal, he’s a banker – let’s hope no one starts snoring.”

(let me first and foremost apologize to any and all of my banking friends – you know all too well the stereotypes of how bankers are thought of: conservative and boring)

After listening to Becker speak, I made a point to approach him for an interview. He graciously accepted my offer, resulting in one of my favorite articles I have written to date. (note: ONE of…again, don’t freak out if I have written about you – you know I love everyone I have focused upon, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have written it!)

First of all, you never know the personality of a banking executive once you get them in an interview. Years ago at a party hosted by one of my neighbors, I experienced my most socially awkward situation ever, which is saying something.

The event was a couples’ Valentine’s Day party, and I attended alone since my husband was overseas on a business trip. I walk into the kitchen to get a drink and introduced myself to a couple. I asked them the basics: where they live, their occupations, and the answer I received was “CFO of XYZ bank” Ugh. Dry couple on first glance, and I couldn’t think of a more boring job than that, truly. (not just a banking executive – but a CFO! For the love of God…) So as I am fumbling for my next question and looking desperately around for someone to rescue me, the CFO drops his beer cap, and in a moment that seemed to move in slow motion, I noticed that as he bent over, his silk, leopard print boxers were showing between his corduroys, and turtleneck / sweater vest ensemble. His wife noticed my eyes pop out of my head and my jaw drop before I could regain my composure, she leans over her seemingly forever bent-over husband, and says, with both hands in claw position, “he’s an animal, grrrrrr” emphasized with a perfect purring sound. Ice broken. Faith in humanity restored, we talked all night!

So given this nearly embarrassing experience, and many more that I can’t possibly share in one sitting, I knew I could handle anything this banking CEO could dish out.

What transpired with Becker was an honest recollection of his childhood and entrepreneurial exploits, with perhaps his best story being his first job out of college working for GE financial, highlighted by meeting Jack Welch. Becker is fearless, yet thoughtful, and a pleasantly surprising addition to the banking industry. The industry could use more like him, just like “Princeton could use a guy like Joel….” (work with me here, you HAVE to get this movie reference….)

Article on David Becker, CEO and Chairman of First Internet Bank:

Kara Kavensky

Kara Kavensky