WASHINGTON — In an effort to promote public service and camaraderie among former servicemembers, advocates unveiled a new “Veteran’s Creed” on Thursday designed to provide a familiar mantra as they navigate civilian life.
The eight-point creed is backed by a host of well-known veterans groups — among them the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Wounded Warrior Project — and is set to be heavily promoted at events and conventions throughout the summer.
Organizers behind the project said their goal was to provide a rallying idea for the larger veterans community, which they believe is needed given the disconnect many veterans feel with their communities upon leaving the military.
“It can serve as a unifying concept to remind veterans of the value of their military service, to inspire veterans to continue to serve and lead at local, state and national levels, and to push them to continue to excel,” said retired Gen. George Casey, former chief of staff of the Army and one of the leaders of the effort.
The creed itself is modeled after the Soldier’s Creed, repeating many of the same themes. While the Army’s version reminds soldiers to “never quit” and “maintain my arms,” the new veterans version calls on individuals to “continue to lead and improve” and “honor and remember my fallen comrades.”
Joe Chenelly, national executive director at AMVETS, said veterans he has spoken to in recent weeks about the new creed have lauded the concept, even if the effort is largely symbolic.
“This really speaks to the values that every veteran shares,” he said.
The idea has also gained support from several veterans in Congress, including Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who praised the idea at the Capitol Hill launch event on Thursday.
“All the military creeds out there … we don’t just put those words on paper, we say them, and then we say them again,” he told the crowd of supporters. “We repeat it with each other and we remind ourselves of these things constantly, because they are such an important part of the makeup of who we are.
“These are things that define us as servicemembers, and have to continue to define us as veterans.”
The Veteran’s Creed
1 — I am an American Veteran
2 — I proudly served my country
3 — I live the values I learned in the military
4 — I continue to serve my community, my country and my fellow veterans
5 — I maintain my physical and mental discipline
6 — I continue to lead and improve
7 — I make a difference
8 — I honor and remember my fallen comrades
The creed is supported by AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, HillVets, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Reserve Officers Association, Student Veterans of America, Team Rubicon Global, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Wounded Warrior Project.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.