The importance of Veteran’s Day: more than a three-day weekend

How we can support our local veterans, as well as the importance of the holiday


Rommel Salazar

USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii dedicated to fallen servicemen during the attack.

Rommel Salazar , Staff Writer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — On the Nov. 11, our annual holiday Veteran’s Day gives us another three-day weekend. However, this day must be taken for more than just an extra day off from school or work. Veteran’s Day is a day to honor living and former servicemen of the U.S. armed forces. The truth is, many veterans who return from their service do not get anything in return, and often face maltreatment. Many veterans face issues as they return from their duty, and it is important to support them. Furthermore, taking care of our veterans should not only be bound to Nov. 11, but a good deed that our community commits to all year.

At first, Nov. 11 was known as “Armistice Day,” and it still bears the same title in Europe and the U.K. Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia. This date marks the exact day that World War I ended, which was on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. WWI had a lasting impression and mark on history as a whole. It was the first time people saw the brutal truth of the glorified war. Because of the major loss of life, post-WWI America and Europe designated the end of the war’s anniversary as a day to commemorate the fallen. Over time, as more wars took place, America renamed Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day. This was commissioned by Dwight D. Eisenhower, a veteran of World War II himself, to make the day more inclusive to honor every veteran beyond just WWI.

Poppy flowers are used to remember the lives lost in World War I, as it was the only form of life that would grow in the scarred battlefields of Western Europe
(BBC )

However, veterans today still face many issues despite the national recognition of this holiday. Although the number has been declining over time, there are still around 60,000 homeless veterans in the U.S. This state of poverty of veterans does not stop there. An even larger amount of veterans are at risk of becoming homeless due to the conditions they are facing.

“A lack of healthy support networks, affordable housing, and increasing poverty are the reasons that put veterans at an increased risk of homelessness,” according to Policy Advice.

Furthermore, many former servicemen also return with mental health issues. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the suicide rates of veterans have presented themselves as a major problem within their demographic.

“Suicide rates of military service members and veterans are also at an all-time high, with deaths by suicide having increased by 25% during 2020,” said the health organization.

To solve these tragic statistics that plague our former servicemen, we need to know how exactly these problems came to be. Based on research done by the Unemployment Interagency Council on Homelessness, unemployment for working veterans has served as the leading cause that sends them to live on the streets. This includes small family-owned businesses created by veterans being neglected by more customers preferring to shop at larger corporations. This leads to a lack of revenue and eventual shutdown of these small businesses. Ultimately, a gaping hole of unemployment is left in the lives of veterans eager to make a living after their service.

To give back to the community this Veteran’s Day citizens can support local veterans. Our veterans have no government assistance when trying to start a sufficient business even after they served. By shopping or dining at local veteran-owned businesses, especially mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, we bring them a source of revenue that helps them support themselves and their families. That way, their incoming source of funds prevents them from falling into poverty and homelessness. Local veteran-owned restaurants around Los Alamitos include Wholly Smokes BBQ at 5440 Orangethorpe Ave. in La Palma, and No Toro Café at 11818 Artesia Blvd. in Artesia. 

Mental health is also a harbinger of the problems that veterans face. This  includes social isolation, as well as problems that they face when trying to re-assimilate into civilian life. Veterans inflicted by PTSD suffer from stress and anxiety after their servitude to our country. In return for the time away from their families, constant work, and overseas deployments, they face many problems even after falling under the safer refuge of civilian life. This should not be the payment that these veterans face after giving so much to our country and our community.

Servicemen and women who gave their all should never reap empty benefits. This is why people should thank all veterans they know and meet, be it a family member, neighbor, or coworker. Part of the reason behind these feelings of neglect and loneliness after their service is due to a lack of recognition they receive. By thanking them verbally or in person, they are greeted with the feeling that their work was not in vain, and that the people they fought and worked for acknowledge the time and effort they spent. If our veterans are able to maintain that sense of welcome and communal recognition, they are less likely to fall into a spiral of depression and mental instability.

Overall, our support for veterans should not only be bound to November 11. In reality, every day should be Veteran’s Day. Year-round, every American who is eager to support their local community should thank the servicemen they know, as well as support the nearby businesses owned by them. So even though Veteran’s Day is fast approaching, it is wise to be make every day an occasion to honor a life that could have been lost for our safety.