Have We Sold-Out Our Veterans?

Sarah Miller, Staff Writer

Veterans Day used to be when Americans took time out of their year to appreciate the sacrifices and hardships of veterans of all of the United States’ wars. However, that same patriotism is met with a different American tradition – unabashed capitalism. Now, many civilians associate Veterans Day more with mattress sales than they do with brave men and women that ensure our safety.

Originally named “Armistice Day” after World War I, Veterans Day was originally instated under the Wilson administration so that Americans “will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service,” according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert McGreal, a US Veteran, stated, “Veterans Day is not as big a deal as it used to be in the 60’s.” This waning support from the American public has become a social norm, unfortunately.
PVHS Junior, Connor Helm, conjectured, “Maybe it is because Americans are not as patriotic as they once were.” Nevertheless, America’s finest look forward to a renewed sense of patriotism.
Others have different ideas as to why Americans do not express as much support for Veterans. PVHS Senior, Josh Norwood, proposed, “I learned from AP US History that veterans from the Vietnam War weren’t treated so well when they came home. Maybe since that war was relatively recent, we aren’t over it yet.” Whatever the reason is for past snubs, veterans are eager to feel support from their fellow countrymen.
McGreal went on to say that “there has been a resurgence in awareness and pride in the military since the first Iraq War.” Other events, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, and more recently, the killing of Qaddafi, helps the Americans citizens show their support of the US military.
Some argue that recent history-making events should not bring a new appreciation of the military, but rather re-affirm the existing pride in Americans.
Palos Verdes High School Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Stamper, whose husband recently returned from serving in Iraq, commented, “Especially now with troops coming home, people should think of it as more than just a day off.” Veterans not only deserve a proper homecoming, but also continual appreciation throughout the year, and ongoing support can come in many forms.
For example, PVHS Junior, Connor Parker, shared that he “plays [his] grandpa Marine Corps hymns on the trumpet on because it makes him feel good.” Displays of appreciation are valued by individuals, yet businesses use the day for profit.
Although local businesses may tout their support of military personnel, support is sorely lacking. Not unlike McGreal, few citizens can remember the last Veterans Day parade they attended. However, one can find Veterans Day mattress and clothing sales strewn throughout the Internet.
Arsen Tashyan, store manager of Sit ‘N Sleep in Studio City, commented that “The hope for Veterans Day is to have a lot of new customers. We are staffing up in preparation for the day, but it’s sometimes hit or miss.”
Apparently, citizens’ desire to make profit has cut into the meaning of Veterans Day itself. Ultimately it is up to civilians to take their days off in order to remember and appreciate the sacrifices that military personnel make daily.
As Cynthia Ozick once said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” While Americans are shopping for their cushy new mattresses, they can stand to remember the Veterans that are oceans away, lying on dry, hard, desert floor.