This Tuesday, I was trying to save money. Veteran’s Day is a national holiday observed by all, but just like Mother’s and Father’s Day, not everyone has earned the title to celebrate it. As a soldier serving in the U.S Army for the past six years, and a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom ’05-’06 (357 days to be exact), I was on the look-out for discounts, and have pretty much come up short. Some of my friends even are embarrassed to go out with me because everywhere I go I ask if they give military discounts but I feel I have the right.
Every year, Golden Corral observes all military personnel by serving veterans a free meal, and this year Applebee’s did the same on Veteran’s Day.
However, Macy’s held a Veteran’s Day Sale, but did not honor military discounts. Many stores like Macy’s use this day to help boost their retail sales, but not to boost veterans’ morale. We have volunteered our lives to serve the citizens of America. Regardless of how you feel about the war, we did a job that not many can do.
We’re not asking for handouts, but sometimes the facial reactions I receive when I ask if the store offers discounts, is offensive. Senior citizens receive permanent discounts once they are a certain age.
Eventually, we’re all going to become senior citizens, but not everyone will become a veteran. Is it wrong to ask why can’t we benefit from these specials as well?
For 12 to 15 months, we are in a foreign country with restrictions on the time we can eat, how we spend our free time (if any) and we can only choose from a “wide” variety of camouflage and physical fitness uniforms.
This is all in addition to the challenge of making it back to America to see your loved ones and continue a normal life, only to learn your life will never return to the sense of normalcy you once had.
I do not regret the year that I spent in Afghanistan. It was in the high mountains of Afghanistan at Bagram Air Base that I made phone calls to Cheryl Readus at the office of registrar asking about attending Florida A&M University. When I told her I was calling from overseas she ensured my paperwork would be in, regardless of the time or distance. Her hospitality and understanding of my situation is an example of citizens who serve those who have served.
Memorial Day observes those who went to war and never made it back. Veteran’s Day observes those who have retired from a military career or went to war and made it back to their beloved country.
I understand many do not respect the war, but I do ask for respect and recognition of service member’s sacrifices. It may sound cliché, but it’s real.
Chantell Black is a senior broadcast journalism student from Brooklyn, NY. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org