Each year on Nov. 11, the United States celebrates Veterans Day to honor those who have fought for and defended our country. Even though it’s a federal holiday, many offices, schools and universities remain open — including Drexel. One of the easiest ways to catch the attention of college students is to cancel class, but oftentimes students don’t stop to think why exactly they have a day off unless they are personally affected by it. To most of them, it’s just a three-day weekend. The point of having a day off is to give families and friends a chance to spend time together honoring or celebrating the holiday and the people represented in that holiday. Although the University does honor Memorial Day, the difference is that Memorial Day commemorates those who lost their lives in battle, whereas Veterans Day is a day to thank and honor everybody who has served the United States. Both holidays are of equal importance, so why is it that Drexel, a school with a prominent community of veterans, does not close on Veterans Day?
Drexel was named to the “Military Friendly Schools’’ list by Victory Media for the fifth consecutive year this past September because of the benefits and support offered to veteran students. Drexel openly welcomes veterans to the University, offering them additional grant money and participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Until 1969, all male students at Drexel were required to serve in the ROTC program. Our University is even the home of a historic military facility, The National Guard Armory that was built in 1916. Drexel is obviously a supporter of our country’s military efforts, so we ought to hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to honoring our veterans — not only supporting them financially and educationally, but also showing them our appreciation by allowing them to enjoy their day.
Even though Veterans Day is not a University holiday, Drexel did acknowledge the holiday by hosting a Veterans Day Primer event Nov. 7, in which the Drexel community was invited to reflect on the service and contributions of veterans throughout America’s history. However, the Editorial Board feels that this event could have been promoted more. Students who didn’t attend because of a lack of advertising could have gotten a lot out of the primer. The primer is a wonderful event, and we thank Drexel for thinking to host it, but a stronger effort to invite the entire community is a necessity.
Meanwhile, Columbus Day, which many Americans question the appropriateness of celebrating for a number of reasons, is a University holiday. Regardless of whether or not you believe that Christopher Columbus deserves to have a national holiday in honor of his individual accomplishments and despite the not-so-noble things he is said to have done to the natives of the New World, can we really say that the millions of brave men and women who have served in our military throughout U.S. history are less deserving of a holiday than Columbus? While we understand that changes to the academic calendar can’t be made overnight, we think that the administration could perform a very nice gesture for the veterans at Drexel by at least considering the possibility of having Veterans Day replace Columbus Day as one of our fall-term University holidays in the future.
Despite the fact that we are all required to attend class this upcoming Veterans Day, don’t forget to take the time to reach out and thank those who have served our country.