Remember the Vets, not the sales

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

Get your credit cards out — today is shopping day. If you need clothing, home goods, jewelry, shoes or select watches, area rugs and electronics, Macy’s has you covered with its 10 to 15 percent off sale.

Maybe you’re more upscale. If so, head to Lord and Taylor, which is offering 15 percent off your purchase. Maybe you’ve got techie needs — that’s fine too. Amazon’s got a sale for you. Today, you’ll find the best shopping deals year-round until Black Friday, so don’t miss out. Oh yeah, and you can thank Veterans Day for those sales. That’s also today, by the way.

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day in commemoration of “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, (when) an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as ‘the Great War,’” according to History.com.

The occasion was first celebrated in 1919, but did not become an official United States holiday until 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day and extended to include the celebration of all veterans of war.

Sadly, much like other holidays, the meaning of Veterans Day has changed. Nov. 11 in the U.S. no longer stands as a day to applaud our brave servicemen and women, but rather a day to buy stuff and maybe even get a head start on Christmas shopping.

Some stores, such as Aeropostale, apparently just happen to have their sales run through Veterans Day — though it is highly unlikely that this is an accident.

Others, such as Macy’s, outright exploit it by advertising its sales as “Veterans Day Sales.”

It is one thing to offer the veterans sales, discounts and maybe even free items in the vein of Krispy Kreme — after all, it is their day and they deserve at least a free donut. However, extending these sales and deals to everyone commercializes and cheapens the meaning of the day.

Veterans Day should be about the veterans. These are the people who risked so much to keep us safe and free, the same people who enable us to shout from the rooftops about how annoying our government is and the people whose lives are forever changed because of war, and not always positively.

A 2011veteranstoday.com article by Ed Mattson compares the standard benefits received by veterans from five other nations — Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Finland — to those that U.S. veterans receive.

Mattson found that, despite many similarities, “our veteran benefits are world-class by comparison to other countries.”

However, Mattson admits that “the U.S. is widely recognized as the world’s policeman, spend(ing) far more on military expenditures than the five representative countries in the report and nearly 50 percent of the entire world’s military expenditures” and points out that “our veteran population is far more apt to be exposed to the possibilities of becoming disabled than say a soldier from Finland.”

Mattson also said that “we may have our differences as to the treatment of diseases from toxic chemicals and the need for more support for (post-traumatic stress disorder), but these are being remedied by legal proceedings.”

That was back in 2011, and still, nothing significant has been done to remedy these problems. With a population composed of a little over a third of adult male veterans, one would think that these problems would be somewhat of a priority.

While this article is obviously neither going to stop Veterans Day sales for non-veterans nor remedy the problems faced by veterans, that is not really the point of it.

The point is to make people stop and think about what today actually means and take as little as five seconds to appreciate what our veterans do.

Maybe call and thank the vets you have in your family, if you have any. Or thank a random veteran if you see one out today. Do something to bring back the meaning of this holiday.

If you are a veteran reading this, go out and enjoy your day. Make use of those discounts and free goodies you get today. A free donut from Krispy Kreme or a free burger from Red Robin is the least you deserve.

If you need help finding discounts, usatoday.com has a few listed.

And also, to those veterans reading, thank you.

Opinion columnist Monica Rojas is a print journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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