Veterans Day: not just a day off

December 1, 2009 — by Sophia Cooper

Many students came to school Thursday, Nov 12, complaining about how horrible Veterans Day was. The day before, they had homework to do, tests to study for, college applications to fill out.

But we don’t have Veterans Day as an excuse for students not to have to go to school or catch up on homework. We celebrate it to honor all of those who have served in our military and to thank them for their service. The true meaning of Nov. 11 has sadly gotten lost among the bustle of people’s busy lives—even at a time when we’re fighting wars in two countries.

It’s vital for us to remember why we celebrate Veterans Day. Our veterans make significant sacrifices to help secure our freedoms as American citizens and those of all world citizens. They fight on the front lines of battle, standing tall while the artillery hits around them, keeping their eyes on the American flag flying high, defending our American ideals of the natural rights life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They have watched the enemy advance. They have watched their comrades fall. They have watched us win.

It isn’t hard to honor our veterans once a year. Simply flying an American flag in front of your house is a start. Wearing red, white and blue that day is a good start. Putting a “Support our Troops” sign in your front yard is another great choice.

But the best way to honor vets is to say thank you. By thanking a veteran for their service, you show that you appreciate the sacrifices they have made.

Personally, both my father and my grandfather are veterans of the Vietnam War and World War II, respectively. My family makes a point of celebrating both of them. We make Nov. 11 their special day, do a project they want (this year it was tiling our bathroom) and have dinner together. It isn’t nearly enough to truly express our gratitude, but it’s a start.

So next national holiday, don’t just think of it as a day to do work. Memorial Day and Veterans Day alike, think of or thank of a veteran.

Without them, we wouldn’t be able enjoy the freedoms that we do.