About the Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG)

Welcome to Argonne National Laboratory’s (ANL) Veteran employee resource group (VET-ERG) webpage!

Happy Memorial Day!

You hear this sentiment from co-workers, store tenders, people you pass on the streets, and all-over social media; this phrase proves to be a conundrum for those who understand the true meaning of Memorial Day, a day of reflection, respect, and remembrance for those who gave their life for their country; a day that should not be trivialized with the standard greeting of celebratory frivolity. Often confused with Veterans Day, which is observed on November 11 annually and pays respect to and celebrates the service of all U.S. military Veterans, Memorial Day had its start immediately following the Civil War, as a way to honor and remember all those who died while fighting for our country, Union or Confederate, one and all.

First dubbed as Decoration Day in reference to the act of leaving flowers and flags on soldiers’ graves, this day has always been thought to have its first official commemoration on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. Here more than 5,000 participants gathered to honor the fallen and took part in decorating more than 20,000 graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. A recent discovery, in 1990, produced a box of First Decoration Day artifacts and manuscripts found in the depths of the Houghton Library at Harvard University; this find shed a new light on the earliest known celebration of Memorial Day which actually occurred on May 1, 1965, in Charleston, South Carolina by newly freed African Americans.

Transformed into a prison for Union soldiers, the Washington Racecourse and Jockey Club of Charleston had a mass grave behind the complex for the bodies of the deceased prisoners who lost their lives due to the horrific conditions of the camp. Once the Confederate army abandoned the city, it left a population of newly freed slaves who immediately took on the job of ensuring these fallen heroes were commemorated through an honorable burial. A cemetery was built, and the bodies were interred in proper burial plots with an inscription on the surrounding fence “Martyrs of the Race Course.” On that first day in May 1965, thousands of freed slaves along with white missionaries gathered together to honor the fallen soldiers. The ceremony included a parade, singing, formation marches and prayers; all to pay homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

On May 29, 2023, we honor our fallen soldiers from all U.S. violent conflicts and wars, who have given their lives for their country, please give of yourself; volunteer for a military organization, place flowers or flags on military graves, slow down your everyday enough to remember, reflect, and respect the memory of these heroes, these warriors who gave everything so we are able to live in a country where we are safe and free. This Memorial Day, pause for these warriors, share the story of the history of this day so that others may also take a pause to remember why we are able to call our home, the United States of America; it is not without the greatest sacrifice of all – of so many. Good Memorial Day to everyone, may we never forget-

Honor Flight Chicago Fundraiser

The Argonne Veterans ERG is raising funds to support Honor Flight Chicago.

Honor Flight Chicago’s mission is to Honor, Thank, and Inspire by building awareness and appreciation of the debt of gratitude America owes its veterans for their service and sacrifice for our nation.

One of the ways this is accomplished is by offering veterans an opportunity for a one day event to fly from Chicago to Washington D.C. and back in order to visit national war memorials and other military themed sites. Every flight is a beautiful event.

Please consider contributing to the fundraiser at GoFundMe.

Give credit; Own, and Accept Blame

By: Mike Edelen

My experience in the Navy, which continues to be re-enforced at Argonne, is that people work the best when they know that their leaders support them and will not point the finger at them when something goes wrong. The best leaders I served with in the military would often tell their bosses that their team members were responsible for the success of a mission, project, evolution, etc. although often, the leader’s work, not the team’s work, was the reason the team succeeded.

Similarly, those same leaders would take responsibility for the mistakes made by the team because the team’s performance was a direct result of the training provided by the leader. This type of leadership led me to strive to do my best daily and go above and beyond what was expected of me. The phrase praise in public, correct in private was a common saying in the submarine force as well as other branches of military service and it still holds true.

One of the key tenets of military leadership and Naval leadership is that the leader of the organization is ultimately responsible for their own actions as well as the actions of their team. This is inexplicable to many, in and out of uniform, how can a leader be responsible for something they weren’t there for? Many want to be in charge and take credit when it’s going well, but few people are willing to accept responsibility when things don’t go as planned. As leaders, the sooner we realize and accept that it’s not about the person at the top of the organization, it’s about the team, then we can develop an effective team motivated to do their best, which they will get credit for.

video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHG_TA1T5mg&ab_channel=ConequipPartsLLC

This video is dedicated to the men and women who serve and served our country.

Raise your right hand and repeat after me.
I, state your name,
do solemnly swear
that I will support and defend
the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies,
foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith
and allegiance to the same;
that I will obey
the orders of
the President of the United States
and the order of
those officers
appointed over me
according to regulations
and the uniform code of military justice.
So help me God.

This pledge was taken by every single enlisted United States Veteran… for you.  Have you thanked a veteran today?

Happy Veterans Day!

15 Things Veterans Want You to Know

video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0E7wbLmu8A&ab_channel=PsychArmor

  1. We are not all soldiers
  2. The Reserves are a vital part of the military
  3. Not everyone in the military if infantry
  4. Leaders at every level in the chain of command
  5. We are always on duty
  6. We take pride in our appearance and in our conduct
  7. We did not all kill someone and those who have do not want to talk about it
  8. We do not all have PTSD
  9. Those of us that do have an invisible wound are not dangerous or violent
  10. It’s really hard for us to ask for help
  11. Our military service changes us
  12. We differ in how much we identify with the military after we leave active duty
  13. Our families serve with us
  14. We would die for each other and we would die for our country
  15. We have all made the sacrifice for one reason: to serve something more important than ourselves


Several years ago, veterans at Argonne noticed the American flag outside of Building 201 needed to be replaced. They  orchestrated a flag changing ceremony. It was hosting this ceremony that reminded on-site vets of the comradery among people who have served in the army, navy, coast guard, air force, and marines. With a desire to network and share resources among the Lab’s veteran community, these vets chartered the Veterans ERG and set it up in a way that anyone can participate and share in this community.


Argonne Veterans Group is dedicated to building awareness and providing resources to Veterans/Veterans Families/Friends of Veterans and bringing together members of the Argonne community in a supportive environment and in furtherance of Argonne’s commitment to equal employment opportunity for all employees.


The Veterans ERG hosts events at the Lab that seek to connect Argonne’s veteran population while fundraising for Veteran organizations. Previous event partners include Team Red White and Blue, a veteran health and fitness group, and Canines for Veterans, an organization dedicated to training dogs to assist their Veteran owners. Read more about these organizations here.