It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that the war to end all wars was marked officially over, and the day to celebrate our nation’s veterans was created.
Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Election Day and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day are holidays celebrated by schools all around the United States. But what about our nation’s heroes? Why is Veterans Day not treated the same as these other historic celebration days? And what in fact is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?
I have a hard time understanding why the public school system allows us to take a whole week for Thanksgiving, over two weeks for winter break, several days for reasons students don’t even know, another week at Spring Break, and so on … but does not permit one day for our nation’s veterans, a national holiday celebrated for over 98 years.
I personally find this matter extremely disrespectful not just towards the veterans, but their families as well. These men and women have risked their lives, and had to spend months and even years away from their friends and families. A day off would allow students to attend things such as festivals, museums, and attend family gatherings to further increase their knowledge of the holiday. As a daughter of a veteran I realize the hardships these men and women, as well as their families have faced in the past and still face today.
Let’s look at Memorial Day, or rather Memorial Day weekend. This day is defined as a national holiday to honor those who lost their lives while serving this great country. In contrast, Veterans Day was created to honor those who served their country. So really, what is the difference? Memorial Day gets an entire weekend that has somehow turned into boating at the lake, hot dogs, and artificial support of veterans, but Veterans Day gets pushed to the side? Can you imagine if we had to go to school on Memorial Day?
So, I ask the school and the state, what is one more day off going to do? The school system obviously allows days off to celebrate people of this nation’s history and to honor those who have fallen, so why not our veterans who have ‘served’ this country? We honor those who have died, but not those who are still living?
Each year the school sets up a calendar for the academic year, and according to Ohio’s Department of Education’s website, holidays are not included for days allowed to be missed. Some states do not even consider Veterans day to be a national holiday. States such as Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Maine by law do not view it on the same level as other such national holidays.
Just like most holidays, Veterans Day is a day of history, and I feel that we as a country have lost sight of that. During holidays like Dr. Martin Luther King Day or President’s Day we almost always learn about the holiday or flat out celebrate it. As a high school student, I cannot recall a time around Veterans Day where my classes did anything to learn about, celebrate, or commemorate our veterans who served. If Memorial Day gets an entire weekend, can Veterans Day at least get something?
As I said before a day off is not always needed for a holiday, but all holidays that celebrate people who have impacted our country should be treated the same way, right? I am not saying that everyone skips out on this holiday, because I know a lot of great things occur. But, as a high school student, I feel that we could be doing more inside of the classroom.
I also feel that the families of lost soldiers and veterans still living in this great country should see that public education respects them the same. The same way as our presidents or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are recognized each year. I hope that one day our school systems will learn to appreciate our veterans more. And that maybe one day Veterans Day will be treated with the same respect as other holidays.
Ironically, Veterans Day happens to fall on a Saturday this year, completely trumping my argument. However, Veterans Day is not just about getting a day of school off, it’s about honoring and respecting our country’s veterans.