There are times in a person’s life when your soul is touched by the actions of your fellow man and even if you begin as strangers, the ending result is that you have just acquired a new friend, if not a new family member for life. Such is the result when people come together to support a worthy cause and become a part of something greater than themselves. I bore witness to something so extraordinary this past Sunday at the Operation Zero car show that I struggle with the words to describe it, while still giving the moment full credit. What began as a fun idea became something so, so much more. It wasn’t a non-profit car show, it was a movement.
A successful event doesn’t happen without good people. Firstly, it takes people to show up, help set up and break down, organize, strategize, and otherwise run around like chickens with their heads chopped off to make it all work. Secondly, it takes minds coming together from every perspective and it all begins with a message in need of a messenger. The crowd present at this last Sunday’s car show was an eclectic group of people, all brought together in the unity of a cause: to show our veterans that we care, that they are not alone, and that we hear and see them. No one deserves to be left in a dark space alone, and those that showed up in support of the event are sending a clear message.
The most important message that we sent on Sunday was that there is hope. These veterans, who have seen things that most people cannot even begin to imagine, are not damaged goods. They are not delinquent expendables and the world needs this message more now than ever. Remember Vietnam? Those servicemen and women lived a nightmare, came back, and, where they should have received support, they were spat on. They were abandoned, ridiculed, lectured, and rejected. Let us learn from the mistakes of our past. Let us take them into our safety and help them find the way through the darkness and leave no one behind.
This is what Operation Zero is all about. It is hard to understand a trial that is unfamiliar to you personally and most people simply are just not aware of the issue. This awareness needs to be spread and shared, encompassing all of our vets until there are no more veteran suicides, only hope. Thank you to everyone involved, from the planning to the donations, and all the pieces that came together to paint the big picture. We couldn’t have done this without you all, and we want you to know that we know it.
A humbling moment, I must admit that I learned more than a few things about event planning in the process of helping to get this thing going, and constructive criticism is my friend. I have written these mistakes or shortcomings down so that next year I am not doomed to repeat the same. Thank you to those that took the time to offer their advice and experience regarding car shows. I have taken note and will implement those things into next year’s plans, as well as remain open to suggestion.
Please enjoy the photos from this year’s car show and thank you again to all those that were there, either in flesh or in spirit! See you next year!