There have been many occasions where some Americans have mistakenly thought that Veterans Day is a day set aside by America to celebrate those lost in battle defending our country or those who became missing in action. This definition fits Memorial Day, the day to honor our country’s war dead.
Veterans Day on the other hand is the day where Americans can celebrate and honor all of our veterans, both living and alive. Veterans Day is mostly regarded to celebrate our living vets dedicated service to our Nation.
“It’s important to me. A day of remembrance for those who have fought (and those who died) serving my country,” Rachael Gorka, member of the National Guard 96th Troop Command, said.
Gorka served a one year Tour of Duty in Iraq in 2003. “Being in the military has influenced my views on the celebration of Veterans Day because it’s provided me with an inside look,” Gorka said.
Gorka is not the only one who has used their experiences in the military to influence their views on Veterans Day and how Americans go about showing their respects to our veterans.
Pierce’s own Travis Hokey served for four years in the Army as a medic. While he was not stationed overseas, he served in Georgia, Texas and, Washington State.
“Vets Day holds more meaning to me now than it did before I was in the Army,” Hokey said.
“The military has taught me so much more about life and so have the places I’ve been to,” Hokey added,
Hokey reflected on how in both Georgia and Texas, “Every day down there is Veterans Day.”
This act of patriotism has brought forth many different debates on the men and women defending our country, and is acceptable, as the practice of our right to freedom of speech is being put into action, but is this having a negative effect on our vets?
“I’ve been up in Seattle and been jeered at,” Gorka said.
“It’s always hurtful when I’m making a sacrifice to defend their freedoms that they’re abusing,” Gorka added.
“It’s hard to celebrate Veterans Day in some areas up here because of liberal views,” Hokey said.
As Gorka stated, the irony and truth of the phrase “biting the hand that feeds” often rings true in many Americans anti-war protests and demonstrations.
One could argue that everyone should respect and celebrate a veteran, regardless of their beliefs; however that would be ridiculous when we are all born with the right to our own beliefs and are given a voice so that others may hear and perhaps appreciate them.
Should it be expected that all Americans are to set aside their beliefs and opinions just for one day out of the year?
“It’s tough to say; we stand in the front line defending the freedom we enjoy as Americans, so it would be absurd to demand or expect a celebration,” Gorka said.
“I think as long as they can respect our decision to sacrifice and serve, just as we respect their right to agree, disagree, celebrate or protest what we do, that would be great,” Gorka added.
Veterans are not always faced with such a clash. In fact, many Americans are more than willing to take a few seconds out of their day to shake the hand of someone who is either currently serving or who has served in the military and thank them for their service.
Some will even go so far as to buy them a meal or a cup of coffee. Again, the practice of Americans using their rights that have been defended by these men and women is being put in to action.
It is not written in American law that schools absolutely must take November 11th off in order to celebrate Veterans Day. Many school boards choose to and often might place certain activities pertaining to the holiday during the week to honor American veterans. Our nations committed and loyal veterans are yet another example of Americans practicing their rights that have defended this for decades in the past and for decades to come.
If not for our veterans, we would not be able to enjoy these rights that have been bestowed upon us.
Keeping that in mind, it would also be wise for us not to abuse these rights so harshly and to always be grateful for what we have; keeping respect for our veterans who have cherished these rights so dearly that they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we would never lose them.