A Veterans Day Story

Yesterday I met with an entrepreneur from Israel who has built a Facebook app called Chat Rounds that allows you and a buddy to hang out, video chat, and play games and watch videos together. He told me that the service is particularly popular with military people stationed abroad and away from their families.

Skyping with your spouse works well enough but apparently it is hard to get the kids to hang out on Skype for long. But in Chat Rounds, the kids can play games or watch cartoons with their parent half way across the world in some war zone.

I was moved by that story. When my dad was in Vietnam, we lost a parent for a year. Thank god we didn't lose a parent for good.

Being in the military is a tough job. Not only do you have to put yourself in harms way in service of your country, you have to leave your families at home. It is a great sacrifice.

So on this Veterans Day, let's remember and thank all the veterans out there for their service to our country. It is too easy to take it for granted.

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    That’s a great app. But why just on Facebook? 

    1. fredwilson

      actually it is available on tablets too and you can use it in a browser with a extension.but most of their users do it on facebook.

    2. tyronerubin

      Have to start somewhere, thats where they started, and sure if there is pportunity they will expand and grow elsewhere, why not.

    3. LIAD

      they’ve been around for some time, used to be off facebook.

    4. awaldstein

      I would chose FB for my first platform if this was my app as that is where the broadest chunk of the base is.I like the app. Well done. Purposeful. Not a slam dunk though. There have been a number of video chat apps that have verticalized to handle this type of connection.Hopeful that this one will touch the right pattern and take off. Has purpose and value.

      1. William Mougayar

        Facebook Apps are definitely a big market. I wonder how it compares in monetization vs. the Apple Apps market.

        1. awaldstein

          Not a clue.My sense is that this is not a great side-by-side. Different marketplace in every possible wayAnd when I think on it, besides game platforms, what apps do you or your network use on Facebook? For me, nada actually.Facebook is a custom app big brand marketing and commerce play. That’s where the dollars lie. I must be missing something huge here.

          1. William Mougayar

            I just checked. $15 billion! “According to new research from University of Maryland, the Facebook App Economy has added at least 182,000 new jobs and contributed more than $12.19 billion in wages and benefits to the U.S. economy this year. Using more aggressive estimates, the Facebook App Economy created a total of 235,644 jobs, adding a value of $15.71 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011″http://techcrunch.com/2011/…I’ve seen estimates that the mobile Apps market will be $17 billion in 2012. http://www.google.com/hoste…

          2. awaldstein

            So…”Facebook users install 20 million apps every day”All the job stuff aside, I’d like to know which ones they are.Thanks.

  2. tyronerubin

    Thanks for the great post and insight on today.As for the product, it looks wonderful.Its so seldom that a magical product enters our lives, that we end up using everyday.It looks like this could be one of those.Its so interesting now as Mark Z and his FB team are open in the fact that they have created the worlds de facto social tool / platform. In the same way that Google created our dominant search engine. Encouraging everyone to build on top of that platform, which they are helping in every way possible.Will FB be the Webs OS? Like Microsoft became the PC’s operating system, for the most part.I am ironically enough moving away from FB. After 5 years or so its not at all my first port of call. But it is still a great address book of the world. The worlds tech connector.Mark Suster spoke about (if I read him right) that FB is not about identity. Twitter is more so about identity.I dont feel like that. For the average person out there, in the social world, if they meet someone, they connect through FB. Their personal identity resides there, pictures, contacts, info. Again if two people meet at a bar they are more likely to connect afterwards on FB than through email or twitter. So I do feel our FB identity is valid.We could also be at an interesting social platform inflection point as something will play out in the next 5 years with mobile, social and so on, obviously.What that will be is the interesting part, and as history has proven, its often unexpected and surprising.Long post for summing up the power of FB and how Mark Z has been urging and enabling people to build, build, build on his platform and this is the perfect point in case here.The build happening on mobile apps is also huge.Instagram founders saying they will have a web version.So the fluidity between web aps, mobile aps, cross platform integration will just become more and more seamless.

    1. Rohan

      A small thought Tyrone.I’ve noticed that Disqus sometimes plays havoc with formatting. Might help editing just making sure your para breaks come through fine.Makes longer comments easier to read. :)(And, in perfect illustration, I had to step in and edit this one because it killed the space.. haha)

      1. tyronerubin

        I did but when it posted, did that, hope should be fine now, thanks! 

        1. Rohan

          Perfect! 🙂



      1. Donna Brewington White

        Very true, FG.  Was hoping that Google+ would solve that problem but haven’t had the time to invest in building it up.  Haven’t seen you doing much with it either — is it lack of time, interest or relevancy?

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. fredwilson

            i would like to be banned on G+#badgeofhonor

  3. Rohan

    Amen to that.That’s a very nice thought.And it’s always nice to see people develop apps/utilities to serve their own burning problems/needs.That always ensures that the passion/fire factor is taken care of. You’ve been on both sides and know what it feels to be a consumer.

  4. Rohan

    And, finally, on a very different note..What are some new/nice/interesting/inspirational books you (guys) would recommend? Any interesting discoveries/re-reads from the fall/winter collection? 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i am reading this Murakami novel right nowhttp://www.amazon.com/Wind-…

      1. Rohan

        Thanks Fred. Are you liking it so far? And any interesting recommendations from the past few months?I just started Isaacson’s Steve Jobs. Promising so far..And just finished Gandhi’s autobiography along with a couple of other really cool ones – Switch by the Heath brothers and Gifts Differing from the lady behind Myers Briggs. Both brilliant..Look forward to books from others. And if the response is good, maybe we’ll make it a weekly/bi-weekly feature (feature fridays on the blog, book fridays on the comments ;))

        1. tyronerubin

          @rrohan189:disqus I am with you 100% on book recommends on Fridays in the comments, cant hurt to through them around. I love bios. This is one of my favorit of the decadehttp://www.amazon.com/Team-…Spielberg currently shooting Lincoln at the moment, using that as the base of it, but unable to do the entire book of course. I might need to re look at Switch as I didnt quite take to it 100% but I did love Made to Stick

        2. kidmercury

          yeah we def need an online book club for fredland

          1. Rohan

            I’ll take responsibility for bringing it up then.Alternate between themes on friday – Books and Hacks (i.e. interesting apps, shortcuts, cool utilities etc).Let’s see how it goes 🙂

      2. Luke Chamberlin

        That’s one of my favorite books. I studied Japanese literature at Hiroshima University and I love Murakami Haruki.Another Murakami novel I highly recommend is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. It’s an unusual mix of hardboiled detective fiction, sci-fi and computer science.http://www.amazon.com/Hard-

      3. ShanaC

        I’m on my second copy of that book (it is one of my favorite books of all time, and has been since I was 16).  It is a fabulous story  that will suck you right in.(note: I’ve read way too much Murakami)

    2. tyronerubin

      books are the business sircurrently reading this and its pretty detailedhttp://www.amazon.com/Steve…next will behttp://www.amazon.com/Think…andhttp://www.amazon.com/Great…great newish stuff I recommendhttp://www.amazon.com/Boome…and want to finish thishttp://www.amazon.com/Banke…with all the literature out there, recommendations are essential

      1. Rohan

        Love the structure, Tyrone. My current reading is same as yours. Next will be – Innovator’s Dilemma by Christensen, Predictably Irrational by Dan ArielyAnd agree with you for the need for recommendations.. As for past recommendations – I have them all here http://www.rohanrajiv.com/b… – Last 4 years or so of books read sorted by priority. :). Hope you find it useful! Oh, and Happy Friday!

        1. tyronerubin

          Thanks, have actually had a look before at your book list.I watch a ton of film and there are films which I can safely say dont need to be watched.I definitely think its the case with books as well. I love how some books expand on dozens of other books, pack it all in.I certainly feel there are some books, specially talking in the business genre which dont have to be read. Time permitting we can read them all, but I want to read those ‘must-read’ books.again, great site, will surely keep on looking there.

          1. Rohan

            Wow. That’s amazing! 🙂 Agree with your film point too. I’m a very reluctant film watcher. 😉 So, haven’t felt the need to have a movie review site.. haha I think it was the same reason I made the list because friends keep checking in and I find it nice to have a list of the must read or read ASAPs. :)Thanks for the reco’s. Look forward to hearing from the rest. 🙂 

        2. Trish Burgess-Curran

          @Rohan and @tyronerubin – Thank you so much for your recommendations!  I will check them out carefully.  I bet I will get some great readings out of those lists!I am now reading Steve Jobs’ biography and before that I read ‘The Innovators Dilemma’ (I bet you have both already read it!).  I highly recommend both!

          1. Rohan

            That’s 3 of us reading the Jobs biography.. haha.And the innovator’s dilemma is next on my list. Many coincidences. 🙂

      1. Rohan

        Interesting description, Marilyn. Thanks a lot. 😀 

      2. David Clarke

         Bit late to the party, but your description inevitably puts one in mind of Oliver Jeffer’s ‘Incredible book-eating boy’:http://www.amazon.com/Incre…I would have one suggestion on a book club: fiction only. My heart sinks when I see banal corporatist reading lists stuffed with books about ‘winning’, ‘winning more’, ‘negotiating better’ etc etc. If everyone read the canon we’d be much better off.

    3. kidmercury

      power of pull by john hagelthe innovator’s manifesto by michael raynorcurrency wars by jim rickardsall great books i highly recommend. it helps to have a bit of a background i monetary policy/macroeconomics for currency wars but it is still fairly accessible, like the others.  

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks KM, there’s going to be a time when I read more non technical stuff and I don’t mind having a finite but huge backlog.

        1. Rohan

          Same here

  5. pointsnfigures

    I would urge everyone to go to myveteransday.org, and leave a comment or a video and thank a veteran.  Have a good Veterans Day and tonight at dinner I will raise a glass to you all. Thanks. 

    1. Dale Allyn

      Thank you for posting the link.

      1. pointsnfigures

        You are welcome.  I am a trustee at the museum(http://www.nationalww2museu…) in New Orleans and I would encourage you to visit.  NOLA is back and the restaurants are still great.  So is the Botanic Garden.  Ironically, it’s the most entrepreneurial museum in the country.  Has to be, because of the challenges it has. 

  6. William Mougayar

    It says something about the power of Facebook apps. But it seems that there is no Facebook app store per say. Facebook likes users to discover Apps via search and they integrate apps in the search results. I think they are taking serendipity a step too far.

    1. Rohan

      agree with you, i do

  7. awaldstein

    Thanks for this.Veteran’s Day always makes me think of this picture of my Dad in the Philippines during WW2.http://bit.ly/rYeOUIHe was gone three years and my older brother was born while he was away. Not an uncommon story  but makes the point of sacrifice willingly given for a cause that mattered.

    1. Rohan

      Lovely picture. 🙂 

    2. JimHirshfield


    3. William Mougayar

      Thanks for sharing.

    4. fredwilson

      a good looking young man!

      1. Rohan

        now we know where @awaldstein:disqus  gets his good looks from 😉

      2. awaldstein

        My mom would certainly agree.

    5. Tom Labus

      My mom’s brother, a young Jesuit priest, was captured by the Japanese and survived years in those camps and marches in the Philippines.  I think a movie was made a few summers ago.

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks for sharing.These stories are what tie the world together. There’s been chatter about how the social graph is neither, social nor a graph in actually. I don’t buy it. I think it gets deeper and wider and more valuable with each bit of humanity that gets layered in.

      2. Blsavini

        So did my father.

    6. Trish Burgess-Curran

      Thank you for sharing.  My dad is also a veteran, in his case Vietnam – thankfully way before I was born (actually way before my parents met!).  It is a great sacrifice that we need to remember. I also have a picture of him with three of his buddies (unfortunately I don’t have an easy way of posting it).  They look soooo extremely young.  Too young to be there…

      1. awaldstein

        Been thinking about youth and war and families as I see the photos of the troops coming home. War becomes a family as well as a national saga.Do open a Tumblr and post your photo.The pic that most speaks to me of youth and family and war is this one ( http://bit.ly/kyKuBi ) of my mom, 70 years ago, on the army base in Texas after she just learned that my dad was shipping out.

        1. Trish Burgess-Curran

          I just did.  My first Tumbr:http://www.tumblr.com/blog/…Thank you to all of you Veterans and, specially, to my dad!

          1. awaldstein

            You might check the permissions to make certain that it ‘public’ as I couldn’t view it.Tumblr rocks for this type of sharing. Congrats on getting this going. 

          2. Trish Burgess-Curran

            How silly can one be!  Sorry, wrong URL:trishburgess.tumblr.comIt shows that I just opened my account!

          3. Pkb1937

            Her Old Man still can’t see the picture and she tells me she is trying

    7. matthughes

      Terrific picture, thanks for sharing.My grandfather was in the Philippines, perhaps they crossed paths. (he was a pilot)

      1. awaldstein

        Maybe.My dad was the meteorologist at the base airport outside of Manilla.

    8. LE

      That is a great picture. What was your dad’s job, Andrew?Sorry: Just saw your reply below.

  8. William Mougayar

    I recently found out that a cousin to my grandfather who emigrated to the US in very early 1900’s was a WW I vet, and his son later was a WW II vet. I have copies of their enrollment cards. Was a touching discovery. 

    1. tyronerubin

      thanks for sharing that.

  9. Dennis Buizert

    I thank every veteran from every country. Serving your country is a brave thing to do. And not a lot can tell the story. So, Thank you for serving. What ever country you are from. 

  10. Wesley Verhoeve

    One of the most inspiring stories in my family history is that my grandmother refused to do what was custom in the Netherlands during WWII, which is to marry my grandfather while he was away fighting in Normandy with only his military glove present at the ceremony. She refused and didn’t cave under the pressure of convention or family, insisting that he was coming back alive and she’d marry him then. My grandfather stormed the beaches in Normandy during D-Day once, fought his way through the lines, stole a German jeep, drove back to a ferry and stormed the beaches a second time the next day. The German jeep turned out to contain secret plans which helped the Allies in their fight. He earned medals, and he returned home to marry my grandmother.

    1. fredwilson

      is he still alive?

      1. Wesley Verhoeve

        Sadly they both have passed. We still have his uniform and medals, and lots of photos of course. They are missed and remembered.

        1. fredwilson

          i am sorry to hear that

          1. Wesley Verhoeve

            Thank you. It’s actually been quite a while since they passed so only smiles and happy memories are left! 🙂

          2. Mark Essel

            That’s a great tale Wesley, thanks for sharing a little of their life with us.

          3. Wesley Verhoeve

            You’re very welcome Mark!

    2. LIAD

      Great story.Never heard of the ‘glove ceremony’ before.We forget how good our generation has it.

    3. MarilynCraig

      “They also serve who only stand and wait.” – your grandmother was also very brave.  Great story, thanks!

    4. matthughes

      What a terrific story.I love that he stormed Normandy on D-day……and then took the initiative to do it all over again the next day.I’m happy your family has this great legacy and fond memories. 

      1. schrammy

        Thanks Matthew!

      2. Wesley Verhoeve

        Thanks Matthew!

    5. ShanaC

      I approve of your grandmother.  Takes huge faith and courage to do what she did.

    6. JLM

      Fabulous story of love of country and family.

  11. Joe Yevoli

    Amen.I have 3 Marines in my family.  I’m proud to say, Happy 236th birthday!

    1. Tom Labus

      And I hope that they’re all safe

      1. Joe Yevoli

        Thank you. They all are 🙂

  12. mikenolan99

    Say thanks…Yesterday in the Minneapolis Airport I got to talking to two soldiers connecting to their flight back home.Not sure if it made a difference, but I made it a point to say “Thank You” for their service.M

    1. Rohan

      It always does. 🙂 I’m glad you did it.I remember having walked away from a situation – it was a cold evening in London and there was a cleaner on the streets doing his job. I was looking forward to being back home then and wanted to say thank you, but for some reason I didn’t. I’ve done so ever since and I’m certain it makes a difference. Even more so in your case.. 🙂

  13. Conrad Ross Schulman

    Being able to chat with your kids and friends is amazing, especially if everyone can stay engaged in the service for the whole time. I think Chat Rounds should stick to this. However, Chat Rounds also allows you to chat with ‘random people’. Even though the service looks and feels very friendly, the ‘Chat Roullete’ problem is still a huge problem within Chat Rounds. That is, the ‘random people’ on the network are still wildly inappropriate.I think Chat Rounds should disable the ‘random chatting’ feature. I think they will be taken much more seriously. If they don’t want to disable the feature, they can add advanced settings which would allow the user to control which random people he wanted to chat with: Such as Age, Location, Gender, Occupation..etc

    1. fredwilson

      that is helpful feedback

  14. Tom Labus

    Let’s wish these great Americans a safe journey home and that they leave the devils of war behind when they do make it back.

  15. FlavioGomes

    War is humankind’s greatest shortcoming.  Unfortunately at times, it is the only option to protecting our values and way of life.  I’m deeply indebted to those who’s courage and sacrifice have enabled me to pursue my dreams, raise a family and grow old in a free and just society.

  16. baba12

    I was in New Orleans for a week and I stumbled upon the World War II museum, I spent 2 days at the museum & I would say that for me it was very inspiring.I am not sure I think of the current value system of America in general is something I am inspired by, I still keep dreaming that somehow current society will be more like what I grew up in India with the image of America.On this veterans day I wish that people would take a moment to just say THANK YOU to those who got us to have what we have. Right or wrong with regards to policies many have sacrificed to get us to have what we have.It is Armistice Day in England also today.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      “I still keep dreaming that somehow current society will be more like what I grew up in India with the image of America…”wow

  17. Jminch

    Thanks from a vet. I am flying on SW Airlines and they let us board first. Now that is respect.

    1. fredwilson


    2. William Mougayar

      Nice. Is this always, or just this week-end because of Veteran’s Day?Your sign-on is different than usual.

      1. JLM

        I was on my phone and avc.com does not work as well on it.SW Airlines did it only today.  It actually is kind of cool to see and mingle w/ the young veterans.I had to go to Tulsa and back today, so four legs of SW Airlines and four boardings at the front which means I get the exit row seat which is like flying on a charter.

  18. kidmercury

    i don’t see anyone dropping painful truth on this post so i wanted to take up the call to arms and fulfill that service. here goes:1. the military works for the 1%. it will increasingly be a tool in oppression and class warfare. it already is like this in other parts of the world, but in the US, the john warner defense authorization act passed during the bush jr era make it legal for military personnel to be used in domestic law enforcement. 2. the only way the economy gets improved and national security gets strengthened is for the troops to be brought home and wars to end. supporting the troops means ending the wars. 3. ron paul, the only candidate serious about ending the war, gets more monetary contributions from ACTIVE military personnel than all other rethuglican candidates COMBINED. yeah. don’t act like i never told ya. 4. remember all the military officials who have joined the 9/11 truth movement: http://www.patriotsquestion… perhaps those who are serious about supporting troops and respecting their service will show interest in a re-investigation of 9/11.

    1. fredwilson

      “war is hell”william tecumseh sherman

      1. JLM

        Little know fact, William Tecumseh Sherman, America’s first war criminal was the founder of what great American powerhouse university and football school?LSU

    2. Rohan

      Remember the Yoda quote, I always do”Great warrior.. heh.. Wars not make one great.” 

    3. LE

      “the military works for the 1%”You’re forgetting the good things that come out of military spending that benefit everyone including you. Computers, the Internet, the Transistor, the space program,  (and the resulting technology) the list goes on and on.No cold war? No Internet. An endless list of things that benefit everyone.  Also things you would never think of like the Panama canal also benefited in order to fill a military need. And the expertise of the Army Corps was essential to build the canal.http://www.usace.army.mil/H…Think of all of this as a cost of doing business.

      1. kidmercury

        all of tihs assumes that none of this would have happened without the military. i disagree, the private sector would have discovered all of this on their own and possibly could have done so in a way that yields even more innovation. also, internet projects and such could easily be done without the military/war component. just because the people who paid for a frauduent also gave us a computer doesn’t mean their fraudlent war is justified. 

        1. ShanaC

          yes, but the government having needs is not a bad thing.  Nor is having a 1% – it is making sure that one percent isn’t in some stratosphere that the social contract breaks down…

        2. LE

          Oh forgot the most important example. The man on the moon and what that program gave us. And of course GPS. I disagree that many of the things I have mentioned would have come from the private sector.In any case what you’re talking about is known as “pure research”. Such as what was undertaken at Bell Labs. It isn’t done anymore to the extent it was in the past. The reason is that Bell (and the entities created post breakup in 1984) no longer have a communications monopoly (paying dividends to widows and orphans) with predictable income streams to invest in pure research.  An no worries about competitive pressure.http://physics.about.com/b/http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

    4. matthughes

      The military also liberates people from the 1%.My dad spent 18 months in Bosnia doing exactly that. The scene over there was heinous. I’m glad the US military and others intervened.I do like Ron Paul. He’s on a different level. 

  19. Alan

    Returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are having trouble finding employment.  Perhaps employers with hiring needs could make it a tradition to set aside Veterans Day for interviewing only these brave people.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a great idea. 

      1. BillMcNeely

        Fred,Could you,  team up with Steve Blank, Tech Stars, Startup America   the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization, in order to combat vet unemployment? The Tech industry creates a lot of jobs each year. Vets with a technical background would be a good fit. You can use the military’s entrance exam, the ASVAB along with thier MOS to screen for potential success.

        1. fredwilson

          i am having breakfast with JLM on monday. i’m going to ask him how he’d go about making this happen

          1. BillMcNeely

            Fred,Thank you for your help in moving the ball down the field in regards to veteran unemployment.

    2. matthughes

      ^2 – great idea.

    3. JLM

      Actually this is an enormous source of talent and a great way to build a company.I am a vet, so I speak the language and can translate OERs and awards.Last week I hired 3 USMA, AFA w/ MBA types.  Fabulous hires.This complements three others I hired over the last 2 years.Transformational hires.I use a firm BRADLEY-MORRIS to do the recruiting and the base material is unbelievable.A guy who has been mortared is not a guy who you have to worry about working hard.  Trust me.

      1. William Mougayar

        The discipline and principles you acquire from being in the military are priceless traits to have for business.

      2. BillMcNeely

        I don’t know if you do any investing but you should checkout Fidelis College.Fidelis College is “A rigorous end-to-end education solution for the military to civilian career transition. Through partnerships with top-tier universities and great companies, Fidelis offers custom coursework, personalized transition coaching, a mentor network, and job opportunities   delivered through a next-generation social platform. “Fidelis College was founded by Gunnar Counselman a former Marine, HBS grad and Bain & Co Vet. http://techcrunch.com/2011/…

        1. JLM

          Great stuff.BTW, Grandpa Counselman is wearing the Navy Cross amongst his ribbons.That is second to the MOH and not too many Marines get one while standing up.

      3. bernardlunn

        In England this is well recognized by biz folks ie that hiring vets is not just morally the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do. I can think of examples from my personal experience.

  20. BillMcNeely

    Fred,Thanks for making me aware of Chat Rounds.I am in Iraq now and my 5 year old little boy, Colgan, can’t sit still for very long to talk with me in front of Skype.Sometimes he will take me (on laptop) on Saturday mornings into his play room so I can hang out with him.  Colgan gets a pretty kick out of this.I can’t wait to try this out tomorrow morning!

    1. Aaron Klein

      Bill, thank you for your service to our country. We all will be in the debt of you and your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines forever. May you finish well and come home soon to Colgan. 🙂

    2. Tom Labus

      Be safe, Bill.

    3. ShanaC

      Come home safe sir.  And thank you!

    4. Donna Brewington White

      I knew if I started reading the comments today, I’d end up in tears.  Thank you, Bill, and all the colleagues you represent.Come home safely.

    5. fredwilson

      wow. i hope this helps. thanks for the note bill and thank you for your service.

  21. LE

    “Being in the military is a tough job. Not only do you have to put yourself in harms way in service of your country, you have to leave your families at home. It is a great sacrifice”One of the first things that bothered me about Obama is that right after he took office he had to meet with his kids teachers or something like that.My wife defended him, talking about how it was a good role model for other black fathers but all I saw was someone who didn’t have their nose to the grindstone.Running the country is a big job.The job and work comes first if you are trying to save the world.Your kids will be fine and their education will be fine if your Harvard educated wife takes the meeting. Stop being populist. This also reminds me of people who are complaining  about business being so bad but I don’t see them working weekends. I see them coaching their kids sports teams or watching football in the afternoon.  Something people in the military have to give up as well.Anyway, the specific rebuttal I gave my wife at the time was a reference to how people serving in the military are separated from their families for long periods of time. So if you are running the country the very least you could do is consider the fact when running for office that *your* family will have to sacrifice as well. And put arguably the most important job in the world ahead of your family.After all, if you really cared about your kids primarily (and that is the point of visiting with their teacher?) you wouldn’t subject them to a future life of scrutiny as the child of a President. Obama’s kids would have had plenty of opportunity had he just been a local politician or Harvard educated attorney.

  22. Steven Kane

    “Behind every American soldier, dozens of their countrymen tonight sleep soundly — and hundreds more in their shadow abroad will wake up alive and safe.” ― Victor Davis Hanson

  23. goldwerger

    When my daughter Skyped me today overseas directly to my roaming cell phone for an impromptu middle-of-the-street video chat, it dawned on me how much smaller our world has truly become.We’re truly blessed to be able to connect with loved ones, and just keep in touch with many more people then we did before (Facebook!). Our world is better for it. And will be better still.

  24. Trish Burgess-Curran

    Amen!  Nothing else to add.

  25. kenberger

    I have a great, reasonably free life.And am part of a thriving business centered in Vietnam (of all places).I don’t forget for 1 day what I owe to many people I’ll never meet.

  26. Brad

    Fred, I spent the day at Omaha beach in Normandy on Friday. Words can not describe the emotion of gratitude and respect for those that pay the ultimate sacrifice and fight for our freedoms.

    1. Tom Labus

      We band of brothers

    2. matthughes

      Normandy is on the top of my list next time I’m in Europe.That’s sacred ground. 

    3. fredwilson

      been there done that. very powerful and humbling experience.

    4. JLM

      If you can go to Normandy and look at Omaha beach and not tear up, then you are a very hard case.Bloody Omaha where the Americans paid for each square foot in blood.The Normandy cemeteries and their pristine maintenance are the truest monument to the world’s reliance upon American talent, treasure and blood when evil raises its ugly head.America did not just liberate Europe, it snuffed out pure evil.That is who we are.  And we should remind ourselves of this reality.  That cemetery is an invoice that can never be paid in full.

      1. Brad

        Completely agree. The sad part was, as I walked through the cemetery and looked at the names, slowly they are becoming just names. I can not imagine that their parents are still alive, their siblings are slowly passing and many were too young to have children. It makes me sad to think of the stories and memories of each fade slowly in to history, but hope that each generation will realize that that hallowed ground was one of the greatest sacrifices of human life to destroying evil.

  27. jason wright

    War is the continuation of politics by other means – Karl Von Clausewitz.

  28. Karthik Ramakrishnan

    Thoughtful post! Thank you for writing this up.

  29. Guest

    Am posting this as a guest so as not to be a self-promoting jerk:Whenever I’m in a restaurant or a coffee shop and I see someone in uniform, I make a point of either picking up their check or at least sending over drinks or desserts. Where possible, I avoid speaking with them, because I like the idea that’s it’s an anonymous “thanks” from all of us.It’s easily, easily the best money I spend all year.

    1. JLM

      Well played – 10th power!The fact that you do this anonymously is what makes it special.

    2. fredwilson

      i love giving anonymously and do that whenever i can. it is so much more powerful when you take the need to be identified out of the equation.

  30. Donna Brewington White

    “Head down” day for me today but somewhere early morning glancing at this post on my phone saw comments from  @kidmercury:disqus  @tyronerubin:disqus @rrohan189:disqus  (others?) about a book club on AVC.This has come up a few times here with enthusiasm and I just wanted to add my .02 once again that I think this is an amazing and fitting idea.  Seems to be a natural for this community.  We could buy the books using an affiliate account and the proceeds could go to charity (Donors Choose?). Fred, if you ever want to do this, I’d be willing to help in some way.  Also, getting this vision for a virtual fireside chat featuring @jlm:disqus .  Imagine him telling stories next to a fireplace, glass of bourbon (or whatever he drinks) in hand.  And, yes, very grateful for veterans.  Regardless of what we think of war, we owe our lives to them.  Thanks for this post, Fred.

    1. Rohan

      and @Trish_Burgess_Curran:disqus  🙂 We can stilll do it in a small way on comments, I guess :). I’ll remember to ask around..

  31. William Mougayar

    News Flash from France today that Sarkozy has proposed to make Nov 11 also a Veteran’s Day in France for those fallen in its WW I, II & other wars. Not that they need another holiday, but it’s interesting that they didn’t have such a holiday before.

  32. JLM

    Twenty two years old, not a care in the world, hard as steel, overseas and as green as grass.I had 180 soldiers in my care and I learned every lesson I ever needed to run a business.I had just parachuted into a rice paddy — look at the boots.  I landed standing up because the rice paddy was fertilized w/ “night soil”.This is what $277/month plus $60 hazardous duty pay plus $60 airborne pay got you.Soldiering was the family business and I liked it.  Hell, I loved it.I was a virginal (figuratively speaking), sweet kid and 18 months later I could not even remember that such a time had existed.I wonder where that boy has gone.

    1. Rohan

      Lovely lovely picture JLMLooking dapper! 😀

    2. fredwilson

      great comment and photo

  33. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    As a military brat I want to turn around and thank everyone in the AVC community for caring and for all the nice gestures that you have made toward those serving in the military and or veterans!I remember returning from Germany in 1974 with the aftermath of Vietnam and the current state of the nation due to Nixon, traveling with my father in full dress uniform, my mother and my four siblings, with a huge train of luggage.In NYC making a train connection at Grand Central Station where I was put in charge of getting the luggage on the train; to say that was a harrowing experience would be an understatement.It makes me proud to know that today we view our soldiers, their families, and our veterans in a totally different light and let me add, it makes a real impact to these soldiers and their families, to know that strangers care.Thank you to all of you for remembering that these folks SERVE the country but do not represent the policies of any particular government or party.

    1. fredwilson

      i was at west point in those years. not as a cadet. but as a teen living on the base. it was a difficult time to be in the service.

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Those were difficult times in a lot of ways and in a big picture type of way, quite similar to our current times.

  34. BillMcNeely

    Paul,What was the startup called?