By Duane Doobie
SPRINGFIELD, MA — Although it is difficult to quantify these things, it seems that the importance of Veterans Day, as it is reflected and acknowledged in our popular culture, has grown over these past years – although those of us at RadioInfo and our sister publication TALKERS are indeed working today and I see our fellow online radio trade publications are out there in full editorial bloom as well.
I also observe that most radio stations’ offices are staffed and running today in business-as-usual mode. So Veterans Day does not fall into the same category of holidays as the other federally-demarcated 24-hour periods that warrant universally acknowledged “day off” status such as the “Big Six” – New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (unless you work at the post office, a bank, or government agency).
Veterans Day is one of the “Little Four” – along with the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington’s Birthday and Columbus Day. At least in terms of people going to work and offices and stores being open.
No, I am not about to offer a blistering criticism about the fact that we are all out there hustling for a buck as usual when we should be saluting our nation’s veterans. In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday.
It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.
The reason I believe Veterans Day is thankfully and appropriately growing in importance is there appears to be a raising in general awareness of 1) what a gigantic sacrifice and act of courage it is to sign up to serve your country to the point of possibly losing your life, 2) the devastating results war often has on the physical and mental health on those who do survive its ugly horror, and 3) how poorly, we as a nation treat our veterans after they come home and return to civilian life… considering they risked their lives and are likely, in far too many cases, to be measurably injured – physically and emotionally –for the rest of their days.
Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to “never miss any opportunity to be a hero.” He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul.
Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?
I suspect, hope and have faith that most of the readers of this article are doing just that. If you are not – you are missing the boat.
Veterans Day is a holiday tailor-made for the purposes and potential goodness of radio. Perhaps, considering the state of our nation and the state of our industry – it is the most important radio holiday of all!
Duane Doobie is the music editor/director of TALKERS magazine’s sister trade publication on the music side, RadioInfo. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.