Yesterday was, and will always be, one of my favorite days of the year. I get to run around saying “Happy Birthday” to my Marines and future Marines, as is the case with the NROTC cadets I saw running around doing 239 laps to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday.
I brought in a cake to celebrate.
This year was also the first year I was personally given presents for my husband and I.
Starbucks surprised our office by coming in with some cartons of free coffee and pastries to honor our military service. Some of my work study students got in on a photo op but I slipped away so as to not be roped in. I don’t mind having my photo taken but I tend to have a lazy eye when a flash is involved and most public photo opportunities I encounter almost always involve flash photography, so I like to not be involved. I don’t like to look drunk in my photos, especially when I haven’t been drinking! (Don’t let the little bottles of booze fool you. Those are still on my counter waiting to be opened.)
I want to bring up something really important that I don’t always acknowledge and should acknowledge. I don’t entirely like freebies offered to veterans. I make some exceptions. I do enjoy, and don’t turn down, free t-shirts honoring military service. I received an ASU Salute to Service t-shirt last year and one again this year. Last year’s shirt was fairly simple, but this year’s design brought things up a notch:
I also didn’t mind that some Starbucks workers brought down some goodies to share with our office. They were polite, did their little photo op, and I was pleased to see how happy everyone was by this unexpected display of generosity. Although marketing was involved on the part of Starbucks, which is part of the critical thinking my classes’ recent discussions on public pedagogy, now is not the time or place to describe these attributes.
What I do not engage personally is the free dinner offers by various restaurant chains. Many of my friends and peers choose to do so, but it is not something my husband or I are comfortable with for personal reasons. He and I paid full price for our dinner last night, breakfast this morning, and a snack this afternoon. We specifically targeted restaurants that were not offering veteran deals, although we were surprised this morning by Biscuits Cafe’s menu statement.
My husband told me before about some Yelp reviews for Biscuits Cafe and some individuals were bothered by the fact Biscuits Cafe, which used to do a 15% discount for veterans and active duty personnel, only had a 10% discount. I am disappointed by such an entitlement attitude. Civilian businesses should not feel compelled to provide a discount to veterans; if they choose to do so, they should do so out of the generosity of their own hearts and because it aligns with their business practices and values. Maybe Biscuits Cafe came under some hard times and found it easier to reduce the benefit discount offered to veterans rather than to cut corners elsewhere. Who knows and by no means should they feel it necessary to explain their business model to myself or others.
There is a serious problem my husband and I do see with providing an equal reward to veterans for their service. It is making the assumption that all veterans are deserving of recognition for their service. Civilians may not always consider the fact some veterans leave the military because they committed heinous offenses. An easily recognized example is Lynndie England and the other soldiers in her unit who tortured prisoners at Abu Gharib. Can you imagine being the waitress having to serve that woman a free meal on Veterans Day?
If you do not know who Lynndie England is, just Google her name and check out some of the stories written about Abu Gharib.
As Veterans Day draws to a close, I want to mention that I have continued to wear dog tags as part of my social experiment. I have done so since October 3rd. No one commented on them last week, yesterday, or today. As you can see from the photos below, I wear my dog tags with any outfit in my wardrobe.
I was hesitant to do so today, because I was concerned people would see it as a desperate move to get some extra veteran entitlement. Oddly enough, no one asked me about them. I was another face in the crowd. The upside to the situation is my family had a great uninterrupted outing this afternoon with a coworker of mine and her husband. My husband and I also kept true to our desire to pay full price for our food purchases even though there are numerous veteran freebies being offered today.