Not giving up was the subject of Marine Corps veteran Jason Hassinger’s speech during the Philadelphia Compound Veterans Committee’s annual Veteran’s Day program on Nov. 7.
Hassinger shared his story of resiliency with Naval Support Activity Philadelphia employees, touching on his time while deployed and his life since.
As a young man, Hassinger was charged with murder after a combat engagement while deployed to Afghanistan. After being cleared of the charges, he volunteered to extend his service contract for another tour of duty in Afghanistan where he was shot several times and experienced the loss of 22 comrades. At home, in May of this year, he experienced loss again with the passing of his three-year-old son.
Hassinger used his story to inspire employees to continue to fight in the face of adversity.
“Everybody has rough times in life. Everybody goes through things,” he said. “But there’s always worse. There’s always something else that can happen … There’s no reason if I can still be standing here, that [anyone who experiences tragedy] can’t also still be standing here, walking forward and fighting the good old fight.”
Hassinger continues to serve the veteran community as a National Service Officer Supervisor with the Disabled American Veterans’ Philadelphia office.
He shared how DAV helps veterans fight for their earned benefits.
“At DAV, we are in the business of not giving up the fight for veterans. We want everyone who served to live a quality of life with respect and dignity,” he said. “We will not leave a brother or sister behind. Over time, every military enlistment or commission comes to an end, but … a veteran’s service has no expiration date.”
Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Commander, Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence thanked Hassinger and the veterans in attendance for their service, and highlighted the significance of the event.
“On this upcoming Veterans Day, let us not forget that Veterans’ Day isn’t just a day for veterans - it’s a day for all Americans,” Lawrence said. “It’s a day to remember why they fought and continue to fight. A day for all of us to begin our journey of protecting our freedom and the freedom of many future generations.”