Veterans Day, dating back to the WWI Armistice, honors those who served in one of the branches of the U.S. military.

Until today, I had not heard of Veterans Day being internationalized into a general holiday honoring anyone who served in any military, domestic or foreign.

A reader who is a student at HLS writes (email address removed, emphasis added):

Hi Professor, I’m a 1L here. I thought the phrasing of this email quite telling.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Ellen Cosgrove”
Date: Nov 7, 2013 6:09 PM
Subject: [STUDENTS]: Veteran’s Day – limited services
To: “students@lists.law.harvard.edu” <students@lists.law.harvard.edu>
Cc:

On Monday, November 11, HLS classes will meet, but administrative offices will be closed in observance of Veteran’s Day.

A few exceptions:

The Hark and Pub will be open normal hours.

Hemenway will be open normal hours.

The Copy Center will be open from 12-5.

The library will be open but there will be no reference services.

We have veterans from several countries here at HLS. We thank you for your service.

Seems like multi-culturalism gone wild. Are we afraid of offending those who served in foreign militaries?

The HLS website indicates there are enrolled students in the JD program from 11 foreign countries, including China. Shall we thank those who served in the People’s Liberation Army?

The HLS Armed Forces Association makes clear that its membership is limited to those who serve or want to serve in “Armed Forces of the United States of America.”

Neither Dean of Students Cosgrove nor Dean Martha Minnow have responded to a request for comment.

Update 5:10 p.m. — I just received an email response from Dean Cosgrove:

Thanks for calling this to my attention. I sent that email quickly and should have been clearer.

I completely understand that Veterans Day is a day to salute and celebrate veterans of the U.S. armed forces and the tremendous sacrifices that so many of them have made. I mentioned the others, though, because I have gotten to know students who are veterans of some of our military treaty partners’ armed forces (NATO and others). Over the years, those veterans have participated in our Armed Forces Association along with our US veterans. I certainly meant no disrespect.


 
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