Veterans Day was established as a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Veterans do not always know how to respond to recognition for their service from those who have. To some, it reminds them that not everyone went through what they did and makes them feel as if they are different, not special.
Observing Veterans Day with a day off from classes should not be a reason to be lazy, sleep in and party. That kind of attitude goes against what the whole day represents to begin with.
Maybe it is a good thing that Veterans Day is not observed with a day off from work or classes. Just look at what has happened to Memorial Day – a day that for many veterans is every day.
Memorial Day is meant to remember and honor the sacrifices of the men and women who have given their lives for this country. However, it has turned into an excuse to go to the beach, BBQ and drink cheap beer.
Remembering and paying respect, even for just one day, to those who sacrificed their lives to secure these pleasures and freedoms is often muddled with American flag bathing suits, hot dogs and Bud Light.
So before you start asking why an organization does not observe a holiday with a day off, ask yourself a couple questions.
When was the last time you visited a national cemetary and put flowers down on the grave of a fallen service member? When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with a veteran about their experiences? When was the last time you attended a fundraiser for a military or veteran charity or attended a Veterans Day parade when it fell on a day you already had off?
If given the day off, how long will it be until Veterans Day is no different than what Memorial Day has become?
Before we start considering a day off to honor our countries military, we should first focus on bridging the civil-military divide. That will take efforts on both sides.
We need a society that understands its military and those who serve and have served in it. But we also need a military that is capable of returning to civil society after their service has ended and continuing to be productive members of society.
This divide will not be resolved with a day off from class where people continue to enjoy their individualistic lives. It can only be solved with a unified country and unified people.