Three days after celebrating democracy by exercising their right to vote, Americans and UVa students alike are celebrating the very people that help protect those rights.
Today is Veteran’s Day, a national holiday that coincides with Armistice Day to honor military Veterans. Officially named “Veteran’s Day” in 1954, the holiday is celebrated every year on November 11th to remember those who served in the armed forces. There are many members of the UVa community that have fulfilled this duty or are close to people who have, so today is a special day on grounds.
“Veteran’s Day for me is about every Veteran that came before me, the ones that wear their hats, caps, pins, and hang their flags pride fully,” said Captain Jane Petrick, Assistant Professor of Military Science.
“The United States Military remains one of the public’s most trusted agents of government. Veteran’s Day serves as a reminder of where we have all come from and is a great day to reaffirm my commitment to future service.”
There are many events occurring this week in order to honor and remember the sacrifices of the country’s Veterans. Today’s women’s basketball home opener game and tomorrow’s football game against Miami will take time to celebrate Veterans. Next week, there will be a vigil to remember those who have served.
“It is important to honor our nation’s Veterans, past and present, because without their service and sacrifice, we would not be able to enjoy the liberties that we take advantage of on a daily basis,” said Commander Eric Keiser, Executive Officer and Associate Professor of Naval Science.
While UVa provides many opportunities for students to recognize Veterans, one question that arises every year is whether or not UVa should cancel classes on the holiday. Most high schools and colleges throughout the country do not cancel classes and instead hold assemblies and events to honor Veterans’ sacrifices.
“I do think Veteran’s Day should be a day off from classes so students and all Americans can spend part of the day honoring those who have defended our Republic, though I support the right of all organizations to make their own decision,” said Captain Christopher Misner, Professor of Naval Science.
Nevertheless, a number of UVa students and faculty approve of how the university currently appreciates its Veterans on the holiday.
“Although I do believe that Veterans’ Day deserves recognition and observation from the community, I don’t think that classes being cancelled is necessary for that,” said first-year Derrick Wang.
Captain Petrick also agrees that classes do not need to be cancelled. “UVa does a fantastic job of recognizing veterans and military members and supports our ROTC programs completely.”
However students and faculty choose to celebrate, it is important to take the time to reflect on the sacrifices made by Veterans that make modern American life possible. Election day has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Americans, so today more than ever, it is important to unequivocally recognize and thank the people that have helped to protect the right to vote in the first place.