A Thought on Veterans Day…


Anna Hulstedt, Features Editor

      Veterans Day is soon approaching- a day to recognize, thank, and appreciate those who daily risk their lives to serve our country in all branches of the military. Veterans Day is on Sunday, November 11 this year, but the following Monday is set aside to observe the holiday. A few years ago, the District 100 calendar annually included a day off for Veterans, but since then, students have been going to school on Veterans Day.

      Many students have family members that have previously served, and some have relatives that are current members of the military. Even though all students may not have family in the military, it is common to know someone that serves for the U.S. Compared to other one-day holidays throughout the year, Veterans Day proves to be just as important as some others such as Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, or Memorial Day. So why don’t students get Veterans day off?

      First of all, one thing that clearly doesn’t make sense is why students go to school on Veterans Day, but they get Columbus Day off. Columbus Day celebrates the founding of America- specifically America. To be specific, America is defined as including both North and South America, but usually when people use the word “America”, they just simply mean the United States. In this case, Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba, not the United States, which technically was not a country yet. He found America, but didn’t find North America.

      “I get that the school board may be hesitant to give us the day off, but as the majority of the students would agree, Columbus Day is an easy switch. At the end of the day, he didn’t ‘discover’ the Americas, there were already people living there, to whom he set the trend of murdering and enslaving,” said Kayla McGuire (‘20).

      Besides, Columbus’ motives are not always seen as trustworthy or morally correct either. Indian accounts of the entrance of Columbus’ crew explain the cruelty of the crew to the native tribes in Cuba and Hispaniola. This undermines Columbus’ popularity in general, so it’s difficult to understand the purpose of giving students a day off school for this historical event.

      Knowing this, Veterans Day appears to be a more appropriate holiday to celebrate by taking off school than Columbus Day. If Columbus Day celebrates something that isn’t directly related to our country’s history or nationality, than why should students get the day off? Why would anyone have Columbus parties or picnics to celebrate the founder of Cuba?

      Students are always pleased to have an extra day off to make the weekend three days long, but Veterans Day would make be a more relative and celebration-worthy day than some of the other holidays such as Presidents Day or Columbus Day. Our country has an excellent military that deserves our thanks and appreciation for their hard work and dedication to America.

      Usually, Memorial Day falls after the last day of school, but if we were to make up enough snow days to reach Memorial Day, then that would be a day off school. Also, schools that go until June at the end of the year get Memorial Day off. If the school wants to recognize veterans that have died serving our country, they should be willing to celebrate those currently serving as well.

      However, even though students in District 100 go to school on Veterans Day, North does a excellent job celebrating Veterans Day with an annual assembly. Students have the opportunity to share a picture of a family member for a picture slideshow during the assembly. In addition, the band plays patriotic songs and a speaker comes too.

      Overall, students who actively listen at the assembly generally learn more about Veterans Day during school than they would or celebrate at home on their day off. As long as schools recognize Veterans Day during school and educate students about the aspects of the holiday, it’s fine that the school doesn’t give students the day off. Either way, a day at school is much more educational and productive rather than taking an extra day to play video games or watch TV all day.

      McGuire says, “If the student body could all agree to put their phones down and actively listen for whoever it is who fought so bravely for our country, then we can all learn something.”  

      No matter your standpoint on whether or not students should receive Veterans Day off of school, remember to be grateful for all of the freedoms in America that so many brave individuals have laid their lives on the line for us to have.