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Brothers in Arms: A Veterans Day Reflection

Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms” hits me hard from the first stanza:

These mist-covered mountains
Are a home now for me,
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be…

Having lived a lot of years now along the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains, but hailing originally from the Front Porch of the Flint Hills on the Great Plains, it resonates. And that’s before the song even gets to its title/subject of Brothers in Arms.

I was fortunate enough to spend my twenties serving in the greatest Navy in the history of the world (not an exaggeration, a demonstrable fact) alongside men I still consider brothers. Teammates who literally proved they were willing to risk, even lay down, their own life to save others. In more than one case, lives were risked saving mine. We were doing our best under trying conditions and when things went sideways, we were there for each other. Absolutely. Always. Every time.

The “mist-covered mountains” of Northern Utah are a long way from the lowlands, the Raging Main, and the Briny Deep. But the goosebumps still hit when reflecting on the privilege that my military service was. When things happen like my son asking me if I knew what aircraft those were conducting the flyover at Arrowhead before the Chiefs vs. Chargers football game last weekend. Of course I knew: A-10 Warthogs. Your best friend when you need close air support and a bad guy’s worst nightmare in the days before drones.

It’s not news that the world is a tricky and divided place, but I firmly believe it is a better place because of the United States of America. And the United States of America is a better, safer place because of the work our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines do every single day. Once in a great while the work makes the news, and sometimes the sea stories are worthy of a book or a movie. But the work never stops, and all of it is done without even the expectation of recognition.

So, Veterans Day is an interesting paradox for veterans. A day originally instituted to mark the end of World War One, then modified by Congress following the introduction of a bill by a man from my hometown of Emporia, Kansas to honor all veterans for work we did with – again – no expectation of recognition. But just because something wasn’t expected, doesn't mean it isn’t appreciated. Like a hug from your teenage child, you’ll happily take it. And Congressman Ed Rees from Emporia did right by us. Thank you, sir.

Cordova Outdoors is and has been a labor of love for me these past few years. It’s fulfilling to design, manufacture, refine, and sell quality gear that is meant to last and provide employment to people I respect and enjoy working with. We’re proud of our American patriotic roots and to make what we affectionately refer to as “America's Cooler”.

We honor our active-duty military (like Madie’s brother!), veterans, first responders (like Sadie’s husband!), teachers (like my daughter!), and medical professionals (like my awesome next-door neighbor!) every day with discounts in recognition of their service and our gratitude. But, During this Veterans Day observance, we are cranking the discount up to 25% on all our products, one of our Veterans Day traditions. This includes Everything. From Basecamp Class Hard Coolers to ball caps. For a company with our size, efficiency, and scale, that means we’re essentially selling for what it costs us to produce our products. We figure that’s a good trade for being able to lay our heads on our pillows at night knowing good people have been trained for years, deployed worldwide, and are willing to give everything they have – literally – to protect us, our freedom, and our Country.

Very respectfully,

Gentry Jensen

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