President Dwight Eisenhower and Congress in 1954 designated November 11 as the day to pay tribute to the men and women, past and present, who serve honorably in the armed forces.

Down through the years, countless owners, trainers, and others in racing have heeded the call of their country. To name a few exemplars, the late C. V. Whitney was a decorated combatant of both world wars and the first assistant secretary of the Air Force, and his cousin John Hay Whitney was a prisoner of war; G. Watts Humphrey Jr. received the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest military award for valor, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action” in Vietnam while wounded by shrapnel; and Richard Santulli is chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund that provides “financial support for the dependents of United States military personnel lost in performance of their duty.”

To commemorate Veterans Day 2013, businesses associated with racing can resolve to help remedy a national disgrace—an elevated unemployment level among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2012, the average unemployment rate for veterans aged 18-24 was 20.4%, or five points higher than for non-vets in the same age range. Post 9/11 veterans between 45 and 54 years of age had an unemployment rate of 7.7%, compared to 6.2% for non-vets. While these figures have improved somewhat in 2013, as employers addressed the problem, a new wave of veterans will enter the civilian job market in 2014 when troops leave Afghanistan.

Former military personnel need job opportunities to transition into the civilian society that remains free and safer because of them. Many bring traits and skills that private-sector employers seek, such as discipline, responsibility, perseverance, and leadership. The next time there is a job opening at a racetrack, on a farm, in an auction company, or elsewhere, it would be good for business and good for the country to give a leg up to a veteran.

Copyright © 2013 Horse Racing Business


The award-winning turf writer and Vietnam veteran Paul Moran passed away in Saratoga Springs, NY on November 9, 2013, at age 67. May he rest in peace.


  1. The company I co-own hires vets when we can and we aren’t sorry. We’ve had better success from the vet pool than elsewhere. Thanks for calling attention to the need to help the people who protect the rest of society by putting their lives on the line.

  2. Saratoga War Horse is an amazing program. Not only does it benefit the individual veterans, but it certainly can prepare them for future jobs in the industry.

    Completely agree with your sentiments. Especially since they’re used to getting up early!

  3. Your point about hiring vets to be good for business and the country is right on. I note today that most of the media outlets are promoting the cause. The NY Stock Exchange had a 2-minute moment of silence followed by taps. Very moving.

    Mike Ditka said today that he can recall when the military was disrespected. No more, he said. Mike also said that sports is play stuff compared to what the military does, now and in the past.