Today, the observance – or not – of Veterans Day is a perfect time to understand modern America.
There are over 20 million veterans in the US, those men and women who have served in one of the branches of the United States military. Those serving in the U.S’s seeming endless wars – Europe and Asia during the Second World War, then Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, the endless war in Afghanistan – just to name a few. The price has been high; death, injury, long separation from families, mental health issues, tedious work, difficulties upon re-entering the civilian workforce.
But despite the vast numbers of veterans, from the point of view of US society in general, Veterans Day is no big deal. Today, when the holiday is officially “observed”, the Wall Street Journal is published, the stock market is open, and, while banks and government offices are closed, life otherwise pretty much goes on as normal. Because veterans have more important things to worry about than what businesses are open on Veterans Day.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a different matter. MLK was a great civil rights leader, but, as a man, not so much. He was a minister who cheated on his wife, and in today’s #metoo era he would have been shamed for sexual harassment. He also plagiarized his most famous I Have a Dream Speech. But businesses are terrified of offending black Americans, so they pretty much shut down. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t publish on MLK day, and the stock and bond markets are closed.
Welcome to the new America.