Unexpected Connections on Veteran’s Day

This Monday was Veteran’s Day, so to all of our former and present servicemen and women, thank you for your service. It was heartwarming for me to see so many Facebook posts from friends and family honoring the many veterans in our community. In the trucking industry, we are doubly thankful for our veterans – not only for the service that they provide our country, but also because many veterans go on to work in our industry upon their return to civilian life.

In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provided a $2.3 million grant in 2015 as part of their “troops to trucks” campaign, which paired veterans newly out of the service with trucking jobs. As it turns out, veterans are a perfect fit for the trucking industry – they’ve got the mental and physical stamina for loading and long drives, they’re team players who can also carry the torch on their own, and they’re highly alert and reactive, which is ideal for highway safety.

While veterans and trucking make perfect sense, sometimes ‘the perfect pair’ is a little unexpected. Take this odd couple, for instance. Pete Davidson is a young Saturday Night Live comedian famous for his off-beat fashion sense, deadpan humor, and short-lived engagement to pop star Ariana Grande. Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw, on the other hand, is an American Navy Veteran and Congressman-Elect in Texas, one of at least sixteen veterans newly elected to the House during midterm elections.

Crenshaw lost an eye in an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan during his third combat tour and covers the scarring with a black eyepatch. Recently, Davidson chose to make fun of Crenshaw’s eyepatch during SNL’s Weekend Update, a “poor choice,” as he admitted after facing major backlash. During a public apology, Davidson said, “The man is a war hero and he deserves all of the respect in the world.”


Crenshaw appeared on SNL to accept Davidson’s apology and roast him back. The veteran-turned-congressman hilariously described Davidson as looking like a “troll doll with a tapeworm,” among other things.

Beyond apologies and comedy, ultimately, what came of this controversy was a moment of connection and understanding. Our country can feel so divided these days, but all Americans could agree that Davidson’s joke was in poor taste. As Crenshaw said, “There’s a lot of lessons to learn here – not just that the left and right can still agree on some things, but also this: Americans can forgive one another. We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other.”

On Veteran’s Day weekend, Crenshaw recommended that beyond “Thanks for your service,” people say, “Never forget” to veterans. As he explained, this means that you’re “in it with them” and “connected as grateful, fellow Americans who will never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present.” He included Davidson’s father– a New York City firefighter who lost his life in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

These enemies turned friends remind us that when we look for connections rather than conflict, we come to find we have far more in common than we initially thought. If you haven’t thanked a veteran yet, it’s never too late. And if you’re facing conflict, think of Davidson and Crenshaw. What do you have in common? Is there a connection to be made?

Fuel for Thought,