“Some people dream the dream. Some people live the dream. Some people defend the dream. God bless the defenders.” – Author unknown
WWE is committed to honoring our service members all year long. Still, when days such as Veterans Day present themselves, we hope to put an exclamation point on our appreciation. On behalf of all of us at WWE, we thank you for your service, veterans! Your bravery, honor and valor supply us with freedom great and small. Ahead of observing Thanksgiving – a holiday to give thanks for our bounty – let us first truly observe Veterans Day and offer our indebtedness to those who defend our homes and homeland with humble vigilance and pride.
John F. Kennedy remarked, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” This call to arms should activate a grateful nation, especially each Nov. 11. There are small things every citizen can do to seek out a veteran and impart an act of appreciation. Last year, I purchased a stack of Starbucks cards that I gave to veterans in passing. I simply wrote, “Thank you for your service” on the tiny envelope and signed it, “A grateful nation.” I tucked them beneath windshield wipers on vehicles with military plates, I handed them to those wearing a hat emblazoned with their branch of service, and I gave them to friends whose dads had served. It was a tiny, but tangible gesture to acknowledge the service these men and women gave our country. If every one of us in the WWE Universe did one small thing to show our appreciation to a veteran in our community, there would be a watershed moment of honor and grace.
There’s not much that accompanies honor and grace better than class, and the classiest lady I know – Lacey Evans – happens to reside in NXT. Did you know that before she joined the ranks of sports-entertainment, this United States Marine Corps Veteran was a real-life action hero? Learning about Lacey’s discipline and dominance as a Marine is a story of female empowerment, grit and gumption. She was a military police officer and the only female on an all-male SWAT team because of her superior and stellar skills. As part of Lacey’s commitment and duties, she was on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to and stop a threat at any given time. Lacey is one classy lady, a tough-as-nails Marine and a powerful advocate for fellow veterans: “Veterans Day means remembering and being thankful for all the veterans who dedicated their lives to protect our country. It is a day to revere those who answered the call of duty and put themselves in difficult situations when most would not,” Lacey said.
Another amazing veteran is WWE’s own Steve Cutler. The NXT Superstar served as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps. He served four years under 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Weapons Company with his MOS/job title: 0331 Infantry Machine Gunner. He honorably served two deployments to Afghanistan, in the Helmand province in 2009 and in Marja in 2011.
Having seen the reality of a hostile fight, Cutler reflected on Veterans Day from the vantage place of one who served: “Veterans Day to me means that I am lucky enough to have made it home and live the life I can to its fullest because of the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice in giving their lives to this country. We are privileged to live day in and day out for their sacrifice. This day is to remember them and keep their families and loved ones in our thoughts for what they did.
“I love my country, and I am grateful every time I get to step foot in a WWE ring and make a living at what I love to do because of my brothers who didn’t make it home,” Cutler continued. “They are in my thoughts when that music hits and when I go home to hold my family. Semper Fidelis.”
Cutler is proof, once a Marine, always a Marine. Semper Fidelis!
This is my constant revelation about veterans: Their willingness to serve is a calling greater than their own self-interest. Such valor bestows upon our citizenry the unquantifiable gift of freedom, which is never free. This freedom we enjoy is because of men and women who so love this country and its founding principles that they’ve risen above self-interest to adopt fearlessness possessed only by those willing to enlist. According to USAA, there are nearly 20 million veterans in America today and only 6 percent of our population have served. For the 94 percent of us who have not enlisted, let’s activate a different sort of enlistment and acknowledge the elite percentage of veterans and their bravery. USAA have an initiative to #HonorThroughAction at USAA.com/VeteransDay. Visit to learn about ways to contribute in your community
Hire Heroes USA is a longtime WWE partner with a mission to empower U.S. military members, veterans and their spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce through free, individual career coaching programs. Having participated in their events with WWE, and hearing the questions posed and instruction our veterans receive, is another avenue of expressing our gratitude to them year-round. Our veterans are not a “photo op,” as one veteran expressed he often felt. Veterans are this country’s warriors. Our veterans deserve resources to find success in civilian life. If you know a veteran struggling to find meaningful employment, please share the resources WWE has fostered in partnership with Hire Heroes USA this Veterans Day. Serve as a liaison to those who willingly served this country.
As a grateful nation, let us observe Veterans Day as a prelude to Thanksgiving and seek ways to truly give thanks. Arthur Ashe spoke of stoicism applicable to our heroic veterans, observing, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to pass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”
I believe it costs very little to return service to those who valiantly served. I believe our veterans are earthbound angels with dog tags and fatigues. I believe we don’t need to know, by name, those who served to “know” and appreciate their collective spirit. I believe our veterans are destined for heaven’s Hall of Fame for their willingness to answer the call to duty with a fearless stoicism. Always!
xo with gratitude, d