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Freedom & Capitalism: Memorial Day and the Spirit of Small Business Ownership

By: Patrick Flood


A U.S. Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, instructs a student on a proper draw technique of noncommissioned officer sword during Corporals Course at the Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy, July 17, 2019. The Marines and a Sailor with SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2 participated in the course that consisted of classes on land navigation, sword and guidon manual, and development of mentorship and leadership skills. SPMAGTF-CR-AF is deployed to conduct crisis-response and theater-security operations in Africa and promote regional stability by conducting military-to-military training exercises throughout Europe and Africa. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Mark E. Morrow Jr.)

Memorial Day is a time to honor the brave individuals who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. But did you know that there’s another battlefield where freedom is defended every day, right here at home? Small business ownership in America represents the ongoing fight for economic freedom and diversity, a battle that veterans are uniquely equipped to lead.

At Owners in Honor, we believe that by supporting veterans in their entrepreneurial pursuits, we can help them continue their fight for freedom—this time through capitalism and economic diversity. This powerful connection between military service and small business ownership not only honors the sacrifices of our fallen heroes but also builds a stronger, more resilient economy.

Memorial Day Has Always Included Many Facets of Freedom

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, has roots that are deeper and more complex than many people realize. One fascinating fact is that Memorial Day’s earliest observances were organized by formerly enslaved African Americans. In Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865, a group of freed slaves held a memorial for Union soldiers who died in a Confederate prison camp. This remarkable event included a parade of 10,000 people, including African American school children singing patriotic songs and carrying flowers to decorate the graves.

Another lesser-known aspect of Memorial Day is its significant impact on small businesses, particularly in the context of veteran entrepreneurship. After World War II, many returning veterans used their skills and GI Bill benefits to start small businesses, fostering economic growth and innovation. This tradition continues today, with many organizations helping veterans transition into business ownership. These businesses not only contribute to the economy but also embody the spirit of American resilience and ingenuity.

Veteran-Owned Small Businesses: The New Defenders of Economic Freedom

Veteran owned business on Main St.The values and patriotism that inspire military members to serve their country can seamlessly transition into the world of entrepreneurship through small business ownership. Veterans, equipped with leadership skills, discipline, and a deep sense of duty, are uniquely positioned to drive the American economy forward by establishing and maintaining small businesses.

This shift from military service to entrepreneurship allows veterans to continue defending the principles of freedom and democracy, this time on an economic battlefield. By becoming small business owners, veterans help ensure that the marketplace remains diverse and vibrant, preventing big corporations from monopolizing industries and stifling competition.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy, embodying ideals of independence, innovation, and resilience. When veterans enter the world of small business ownership, they bring with them a commitment to uphold these values, ensuring that Main Street America thrives. This entrepreneurial spirit among veterans not only supports economic growth but also safeguards the democratic principles they once fought to protect. By keeping big corporations in check and fostering a diverse economic landscape, veteran-owned businesses play a crucial role in preserving the freedoms and ideals that define the United States.

Supporting Veterans: Upholding the Spirit of Freedom

By helping veterans buy small businesses through programs like Owners in Honor, you are supporting the very idea of freedom that they fought for. These programs provide veterans with the tools and resources needed to transition into successful business ownership. The comprehensive approach includes connecting veterans with available businesses, offering mentorship, and providing financial assistance to ensure a smooth transition.

In addition to Owners in Honor, several other programs are dedicated to helping veterans become entrepreneurs. For instance, Veterans Business Services offers a range of services designed to support veteran entrepreneurs, including access to capital, business training, and mentorship. Another notable program is Veteran Owned Business, which provides a directory of veteran-owned businesses, resources, and networking opportunities to help veterans thrive in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Supporting these programs this Memorial Day is a way to give back to those who have given so much for our country. By enabling veterans to become business owners, we are not only helping them achieve personal success but also contributing to the diversity and resilience of the American economy.

The Great Wealth Transfer: A Unique Opportunity

The United States is on the brink of the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history, with Baby Boomers set to pass down an estimated $84 trillion to their heirs by 2045 (RBFCU) (Kiplinger.com). This monumental shift presents a unique opportunity for veterans to enter the business world. As Baby Boomers retire, many small businesses are up for grabs, creating a chance for veterans to take over these enterprises and continue their legacy.

There is also the personnel factor to consider. Veterans have proven track records and training to help them be the best business leaders for main street America. Veterans can apply previous SOPs from their military service to help succeed in the big task that is talent acquisition and running a business smoothly.


This Memorial Day, as we honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, let’s also recognize the veterans who continue to fight for American values through small business ownership. We can support veterans in their entrepreneurial endeavors and help them sustain the principles of freedom and capitalism that they have defended with their lives.

Veteran-owned businesses are more than just a way for veterans to make a living; they are a means to keep the American economy diverse and resilient. Let’s come together this Memorial Day to honor our veterans by supporting their journey into business ownership.

For more information on how you can support veteran entrepreneurs, visit Owners in Honor to learn more about our mission and focus and have a wonderful Memorial Day with friends and family.

Published: May 24, 2024

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Patrick Flood

Patrick Flood is CEO & Founder of Owners in Honor, a non-profit foundation that empowers veterans to carry forward American small businesses, He holds an MBA from Duke University, an MS in Defense Analysis from Naval Postgraduate School, and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional credential. Patrick has over 25 years of military service as a Green Beret, and is the recipient of multiple honors, including the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Mission Honor Award.

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