Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of Veterans’ Day. Although I am not a war veteran, I feel that UR neglected to recognize a national holiday. Few, if any, UR students are veterans, but that does not mean that we, as a community, should fail to honor the thousands of lives lost in foreign wars.

November 11 was first officially recognized by Congress as an historic day through a resolution on June 4, 1926. A section reads, “It is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”

November 11, 1918 marked the end of World War I. The resolution describes WWI as the most “destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals” and that happened before thousands more U.S. servicemen perished in World War II, Vietnam and the Korean War.

In 1938, Nov. 11 became known as Armistice Day. In 1954, after World War II, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day and made it a holiday to celebrate veterans of all wars.

This year we should be especially mindful of the thousands currently serving in our Armed Forces in Iraq. Whether or not you support the war efforts in Iraq, we must be mindful and respectful of those who are fighting to kick Saddam’s tyrannical, yet elusive butt.

I imagine that many students were not even aware that Tuesday was Veterans’ Day. Furthermore, there is a visible NROTC presence at UR. Why did they make no effort to honor their fellow servicemen and women?

Apathy, as some gripe, is rampant among college students, so I’m not sure that a Veterans’ Day ceremony would be well-attended at UR, but to not have an opportunity to honor our vets is unfortunate.

Put down the video game control, get off the Dance Dance Revolution contraption, take a brief study break and recognize that you are free because others died for the betterment of our nation. If that doesn’t motivate you maybe this will – Jennifer Love Hewitt is a National Honorary Spokesperson for Veterans’ Day. “Veterans’ Day is not a day off – it’s our heroes’ day,” she said in a public service announcement.

Hewitt asserts that veterans serve to protect our freedom and that Veterans’ Day is a time to pause and say “thank you.” She also reminds us that veterans not only serve in wars, but they also fight to keep America safe from terrorism. Are we losing sight of our national traditions and our duty to honor those who lost their lives to keep America safe and free?

Yunis can be reached at tyunis@campustimes.org.

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