Every year on November 11th, you’ll hear radio commercials, see ads online, and watch commercials on t.v. of restaurants and other business across the nation giving deals and freebies to veterans, or having sales for everyone on Veterans Day. For many businesses, this is their way of saying “Thank You.” For others, it’s just another way to draw in customers.
Commercializing the Noncommercial
I had the chance to chat with Tim Lewis, U.S. Army veteran and vice president of Low VA Rates, who said “Veterans Day has become commercialized in America, but this is not the way it should be. It isn’t a day to go buy furniture.”
Lewis isn’t the only one who has made this connection. In fact, in 2014, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz gave a similar sentiment when he said the day “has been turned into a weekend sale . . . That’s not respectful for me.” Many veterans across the nation have lamented the deterioration of true respect for this national day, saying they would like to be thanked through people voting, learning about the country, knowing why they are saying thank you, and really getting involved in veteran support.
Last Tuesday, Lewis drew attention to the double standards that different companies in the nation are portraying. For example, the NFL is offering military-themed merchandise to recognize Veterans Day, but at the same time, the NFL does not require its athletes to stand for the national anthem and the national flag, both of which represent everything those same veterans have fought for and given their time and sometimes their health or even their lives to uphold. Which shows more respect, a camo jersey or standing for the national anthem for those who can’t anymore?
So what should Veterans Day be all about?
What Veterans Stand For
Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day (which marked the anniversary of WWI), but this changed in 1926. I’ll draw your attention to a few years later when the Chamber of Commerce of Emporia, Kansas, persuaded almost all of the merchants in the town to close their doors for the day to remember those who served and died. Why? Because continuing to do business would have damaged the sacred purpose of the day.
Values and sacrifice. That is what Veterans Day should express.
Tim Lewis related his own tradition of Veterans Day as it had been throughout his childhood in Nebraska. Every year, people would gather at 5 o’clock to read the names of every diseased veteran of the town and then the 21 salute would sound. After this solemn ceremony, Tim Lewis and his father would play pool together and then link up for supper at the VFW Club. The tradition still stands for Lewis who plans to visit the VFW with his wife this year because the way he recognizes Nov. 11th is with quality family time.
For other veterans across the nation, spending time with family is a great way to observe this day, and each person has their own traditions. For citizens of the United States who are not veterans or active-duty service members, here are some ideas for how you can show your respect for those who have served:
- Visit a national monument or memorial
- Visit a veterans cemetery
- Spend time with family members (close and distant) who have served
- Watch an educational movie or read a book about wars the U.S. has been involved in
- Donate to a veteran-related organization (such as the Foundation for American Veterans, K9s for Warriors, or even our own Low VA Rates Foundation)
- Serve in your community
- Send care packages to troops deployed overseas
How We Show Our Respect at Low VA Rates
On Nov. 11th, we at Low VA Rates are saying thank you to our veterans and showing them respect in our own way. We have several veterans on our team, and Friday will be a paid day off for all of them. The same will be true for our employees who have spouses in the military. In addition to this, we are collaborating with several food trucks in Utah to offer free meals to veterans on that day (paid by us). If you’d like to visit one of these participating food trucks, simply provide a form of military ID when you get your meal and fill out a short form for us.
And as always, we will continue to work hard all day Friday to move loans along in the process for all of our veteran clients. In fact, all non-veteran employees are required to work that day. We specialize in VA home loans for veterans and feel it is a pleasure to provide them with the amazing benefits and respect they deserve every day of the year, not just on Veterans Day. Have you considered refinancing or purchasing with a VA loan? Give us a call or visit our site to get started on saving thousands of dollars on your mortgage.