By Lauren Lane
As the granddaughter of two veterans, I grew up being taught to respect those who fight for your country, no questions asked. I was taught that you didn’t have to support the war to support your military, and I absolutely believe that still today, which is why not having Veterans Day off from classes makes me feel as if I am disrespecting those who have given years to defend the United States of America.
First off, I do not look at Veterans Day as a holiday off from school so I can sit in my pajamas all day and watch Netflix since classes were canceled, and that is in no way why I am upset by Simmon’s choice to hold classes.
Veterans Day came to be in November of 1919, but it was first called Armistice Day by President Wilson, who proclaimed “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”.
Armistice Day became an official legal holiday when an act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) was passed on May 13, 1938, and was to be a day reserved to honor the veterans of World War I. However, in 1954, the Act of 1938 was amended to strike out the use of the word “armistice” and replace it with the word “veteran” as to be inclusive and honor all American veterans of all wars.
These acts were put into place to guarantee that those who fought and sacrificed everything that they had would be celebrated in the highest esteem as they should be.
In June of 1968 the Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was passed into law that there would be three day weekends for celebrating four National holidays which were Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day. While this bill was passed for federal employees, why shouldn’t everyone be able to take the day to appreciate the people around them who have helped ensure a free country?
When World War I finally ended, people called it the “war to end all wars,” yet we have been a part of countless other wars since then, proving every time that we still need our soliders and always will. Veterans Day is a day for reflection on those who show strength, courage, and determination in the face of almost certain death. The veterans we honor on this special day have shaped the country and world we know today, and without them, I don’t think I would be able to be writing this article presently.
Something we all need to grasp is that veterans are not just parents and grandparents now. Instead, they can be our classmates from middle school, or the neighbor from down the street. Almost half of those serving in the military presently are between the ages 22 and 30. Also, more than 130,000 soldiers will leave the army this year as we near the conclusion of our combat in Afganistan, and 500,000 by 2017. These will all be American veterans who will be returning from what could be years away from their country and families.
While Simmons is not the only school who does not consider Veterans Day to be a reason to suspend classes for the day, we should be a college who shows their support for those giving not only us as a Nation, but other parts of the world a better future.
Other Boston schools such as Emmanuel College, Tufts University, Suffolk University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and many more all have the government holiday off from classes so that students can celebrate.
“My stepfather is a veteran and I’m so proud of everything he has done to protect the US. I make sure every Veterans Day I tell him how thankful I am about the sacrifices he has made in the past for my future,” said senior Alexandra Kruzel
“I understand the importance of school, and classwork, and professors. However, Veterans Day should be used as an opportunity to attend events and spend time with family,” said sophomore Jill Bolduc when asked how she felt about Simmons not honoring this holiday. “For me, Veterans Day should be about respecting and honoring all our veterans, and personally my father who has sacrificed his life for our country while deployed for over seven years.”
If you line up a group of ten Simmons students I can tell you that at least half of them will have a friend or family member who is in the military or has been in the past. All of these people will tell you the exact same thing, that the holiday should be respected and observed by the college, and all colleges across the country.
Regardless as to if professors hold classes on Monday, and if the college continues to not grant us the day for remembrance, we all have to remember that a soldier is a soldier for life. That aspect of their life is not something that happens and then fades away to become a faint but prideful memory. They carry the years with them, as they should, and we should salute and celebrate them for that.
I hope that in between your classes on Monday each of you find the time to thank a veteran you may know, or donate your time or money to a worthy veteran and military based cause. Operation Write Home, Disabled American Veterans, and Wounded Warrior Project are all great causes that serve to help those who have helped us.