Douglas PhillipsDouglas Phillips

Each May we observe National Military Appreciation Month in the United States, and for Microsoft this is a time to connect with, learn from and celebrate our military community all around the globe. On May 31, we observe Memorial Day in the United States, honoring the memories of those who fell in service of the nation. On a human level, I’m always interested to learn about the history and founding of holidays along with traditions in practice, both past and present. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, referring to the decoration of graves with flowers, and became a federal holiday in 1971. My own Memorial Day ritual centers on supporting charities that organize wreath laying at military cemeteries, quiet reflection and conversations with friends and family about those who came before us. For the living, Memorial Day is a time to exercise our gratitude and appreciation.

Speaking of how we honor selfless service, I started at Microsoft almost six years ago and was pleasantly surprised soon after when an invitation came through to an on-campus observance of Veterans Day, which in the United States is when we celebrate living veterans. On the same day, Nov. 11, the Commonwealth observes Remembrance Day to honor members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty. The origin of both traditions is Armistice Day when World War I hostilities ended on Nov. 11, 1918, and of course remembrance is something that predates that conflict in cultures worldwide. At that first event I attended at Microsoft, I met retired Maj. Gen. Chris Cortez, Vice President of Military Affairs at Microsoft, and learned about our vibrant veterans community. This drew me toward additional opportunities to get to know as many veterans as possible and gave me the chance to understand the amazing career opportunities at the company and the opportunities for us to invest further.

This year, I’m particularly grateful for and proud of Microsoft’s commitment to those who have served. It is my distinct privilege to now serve as one of the executive sponsors of the global Military at Microsoft employee resource group (ERG),

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