This Memorial Day don’t remember; just celebrate

Comment

Image Credits: Elvert Barnes (opens in a new window) / Flickr (opens in a new window) under a CC BY-SA 2.0 (opens in a new window) license.

Deano Roberts

Contributor

Deano Roberts is a Director at Slack. Following his graduation from West Point, he went on to serve as an Apache attack helicopter pilot serving on several deployments. He commanded the US Army’s Primary Flight School and a Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit. In addition, he served as a counterterrorism and disaster response expert with NORAD and US NORTHERN COMMAND. He still serves today as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves working on disaster response coordination for California and the Pacific.

More posts from Deano Roberts

As a soldier who occasionally is in uniform in public in the Bay Area as part of my Army Reserve duties I am overwhelmed by the volume of “Thank You for Your Service” comments I receive.

We’ve come to a remarkably mature place as a society where you can detest the war, but not the warrior. For any service member who has received these appreciative acknowledgements in public you can physically feel the humbled gratitude in your soul while also oddly squeamish with your internal recognition that there are perhaps others who sacrificed far more and that maybe you aren’t deserving of that praise.

These feelings rush through you, all while you awkwardly offer your own words of appreciation for their appreciation.

So this Memorial Day I would offer something different. I would propose that you not spend time in over-adulation and recognition of those who serve or have served. Rather, this Memorial Day (and generally every day after) you can honor their memory, service and sacrifices by living the best possible life you can… that you create, you inspire, you love, you care and you celebrate. This call to thrive (and your right to do so) is ultimately what soldiers seek to protect and defend.

I have the privilege in my professional life to serve two organizations: Monday through Friday I serve as a director at a technology company headquartered in San Francisco, and then on Saturday and Sunday I serve as the Commander of the 1-363rd “San Francisco’s Own” Army Reserve Battalion headquartered in Dublin, Calif.

Interestingly, the desired end states of both of these communities — technology and the military — is remarkably the same, though achieved through different means: The desire to make lives better.

The innovations and the solutions that flourish in the technology community in their highest realization seek to connect the worlds of experience and idea, seek to develop cheaper cleaner energy, seek to feed the masses, seek to eradicate disease, seek to liberate thoughts, words and actions.

Soldiers fight and occasionally die for the ideals of freedom, liberty and justice, but practically also to protect and defend those systems of government and society that support these technological engines of progress that seek to make all people lives simpler, more productive and, hopefully, more pleasant.

Why I or any soldier, sailor, airmen or Marine serves their community is so that others may not know the horrors of oppression; that others may thrive without threat. I was at a Stanford Military Appreciation Dinner the other night when an older gentlemen suggested that the nation would be better off with a mandatory military service obligation for its young men and women.

He followed by also saying that no one anymore really knows anyone in the military or their burdens and that mandatory service would help change that. I, along with the other officers sitting at the table (Navy and Air Force), emphatically disagreed.

We said it’s remarkable that we live in a nation where we are free to choose our path that often doesn’t include military service. Organizationally as well; we only want team members in the military that desire to serve on our teams not because they’re obligated to.

We also offered the gentlemen that thankfully we don’t live in a country where everyone necessarily needs to feel the burden of military service. The fact that we as a nation are not overly preoccupied with our military or military service is a good thing. Ultimately soldiers serve to protect and defend our way of life; our way of life that doesn’t spend its days in fear or disproportionate recognition of its military prowess.

As I was finishing this article this weekend I was notified that one of my junior commanding officers in the “San Francisco’s Own” Battalion I lead was killed on his road bike on his way to work. CPT Nathan Miller (and his wife CPT Jessica Miller) are both recently transitioned active duty army officers just off deployments to Afghanistan. They chose to move to the Bay Area to begin their private sector jobs while raising their young daughter and still choosing to serve in the Reserves, though they have no obligation to do so.

When asked on our first meeting why they would continue to serve in the Reserves they simply replied with “it is who we are, what we’ve known and we want to help to protect/shape this world our daughter will inherit.”  Nathan was an avid endurance athlete. In speaking with Jessica on how we could best honor Nathan’s service she simply said to do what Nathan would do. “Go outside and hike/walk/bike in this beautiful place and end the day with good friends and a cold beer to celebrate.” So this Memorial Day, I’m just going to celebrate.

More TechCrunch

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

18 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies