Military & Veterans Life
Scott’s View: Black History Month & Our Nation’s VeteransWith the close of February next week, we want to take a moment to recognize all the great Americans who served our nation and the spirit of Black History Month.
Vietnam Vet, co-founder, and co-CEO of WeSalute (founded as Veterans Advantage)
Scott Higgins is the co-founder and co-chief executive officer (CEO) of WeSalute, as well as a Vietnam War Veteran and former Army Lieutenant with a family legacy of military service. Scott began his service in the Army ROTC program at Gettysburg College. On the same day he graduated with a history degree in 1967, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and received his orders for Vietnam. By October 5th of that year, he was stationed at Hq., 2nd Field Force Vietnam as a supply officer. The headquarters successfully defended itself against an attack by North Vietnam Army troops during the Tet offensive, January 31, 1968.
Like so many others, I did not ask to go to Vietnam. I had raised my right hand, though, and taken the oath of office and was committed to serve.
When he returned to the United States after his service, there were no parades or special events to welcome him back. Scott returned to an America that showed little understanding or respect for what he and his fellow vets had endured while fighting and serving their country overseas.
After 10 years of war, the country wanted to forget the war. It ignored the brave service and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans. I was determined to do something about that.
While pursuing a career on Wall Street, Scott provided financial support for the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), as it struggled to establish itself as a service organization. He traveled to Vietnam on a non-diplomatic mission to address the issues of Agent Orange, missing in action (MIA’s) and the Amerasian children. The CBS news team accompanied the mission and produced four segments from Vietnam. Later, Scott was appointed by the Mayor of New York to co-chair the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission.
The Commission built a stunning memorial in lower Manhattan, created a jobs program for Vietnam Vets, and organized the first “Welcome Home Parade” for Vietnam Vets, 10 years after the end of the war. Over 25,000 Veterans finally got the recognition they deserved during what was the largest ticker tape parade in U.S. history with over 1 Million people who turned out to thank them for their service.
Helping to build our memorial and hold the first Vietnam Veteran parade is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life. I am proud and grateful that the message of the parade spread across the country, so today we say ‘thank you for your service’ and never again will we ignore those who go to war and their families and forget them for their sacrifices.
Scott’s role in this monumental achievement for Vietnam Vets inspired him to find a way to honor military and veterans every day. In 2000, he and his spouse, Lin, a daughter of a WWII Marine Corps Officer, co-founded WeSalute, a public benefit corporation with the mission to create ‘greater respect, recognition, and rewards’ for those who serve and their families.
Bringing Vietnam Veterans the Recognition they Deserve
Our Co-founder and CEO, Scott, volunteered to serve with the commission that raised 5 million dollars to build the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall