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No time for a holiday


Arizona Daily Wildcat

By Ashley Weaver
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 12, 1999
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Light up the hibachi grill, tune in the radio, turn on the Cartoon Network and drop onto your couch - the semi-three day weekend known as Veteran's Day has arrived. I sat in class on Wednesday and listened to people's plans and not one involved celebration of Armistice Day, what this day was recognized as in 1938, or its common name, Veteran's Day.

Apparently, UA students have better things to worry about than celebrating peace, a state the world won't reach no matter how many red paper poppies we buy. We have plane tickets to buy for Thanksgiving, hangovers to recover from, the latest "Real World" to watch, groceries to buy and cars to gas up.

Plans of travel to Phoenix, barbecues, sleeping in, catching up on homework and grand boozing fests filled the air. And aside from the happiness of having a day off from the daily grind of Rent-A-Fenced education in the path of the bulldozer, I heard complaints. Some students were upset that we still had Friday classes. Others were unhappy that some classes had been canceled for Friday but some remained. Many students were planning Thanksgiving vacations and lamented the rushing to the airport they predicted for Wednesday afternoon. Nada about veterans or war or anything related.

Every year, the Fourth of July is an excuse to celebrate the country by blowing up a little bit of it. Easter has become a genetic nightmare of clucking Cadbury bunnies with dysfunctional reproductive systems. Christmas has become a giant commercial for Tickle-Me-Pok­mon beanie babies, drinking Shamrock eggnog from commemorative Hardy's glasses, while ice skating with polar bears on a stage in the food court of your local mall, sponsored by Disney and the GO! network and simulcast in RealTime on MSNBC. Without all the sleigh bells and skyrocketing suicide rates, along comes another bastardized holiday.

America boldly promised to learn from "the war to end all wars" and remembered the sacrifices of their boys and girls who had died for faceless politicians in clouds of mustard gas. Of course, this nostalgia didn't distract us from jumping into the next war to end all wars three years later and moments of silence don't distract us from, several minutes later, catching up on what we've missed from "The Young and the Restless."

So I propose that we celebrate Veteran's Day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Most families still sit down and give thanks for their privileges (consumption of canned cranberry sauce combined with heavily liquored eggnog seems to have that gift of honesty ingrained into it). "I'm glad I got to avoid the rush on Thanksgiving weekend" could be one sentiment heard more often. Veterans could even be thanked at the dinner table, instead of just heard about on a newsbyte two weeks earlier and forgotten before the pumpkins are gutted for holiday pie.

It wouldn't be the first time the date of Veteran's Day has been switched around. From 1971 to 1977, Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday of October, before returning to its original date.

In fact, I propose that we stop "celebrating" Veteran's Day at all. We shouldn't be proud that people died for causes that may not have been their own. We shouldn't be proud that our people were killed, or killed others, or were imprisoned or are still imprisoned at all. Maybe some men and women believed in their causes. Maybe some thought they did and only realized the injustice and terror of war seconds before the darkness came upon them. We shouldn't be proud that, as we poise on the brink of the millennium, we have still not evolved beyond physical violence, brute force and the merciless and ritualistic suicide missions that war comprises. We cannot and should not celebrate Armistice Day when the concept is systematically destroyed every time we, as a human race, declare war on ourselves.

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