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Zimbabweans Urge Govt to Introduce War Vets Day

  • VOA Staff
  • Gibbs Dube

Zimbabwe Heroes Acre

Zimbabwe Heroes Acre

A major concert in Washington, D.C. is among the many events planned across the United States Tuesday during the annual Veterans Day holiday.

As many as 800,000 people are expected to gather on the National Mall for the Concert for Valor event, featuring such acts as rock-and-roll legend Bruce Springsteen, rhythm-and-blues singer Rihanna, country star Carrie Underwood and heavy metal band Metallica.

Organizers are hoping to use the concert to raise awareness for organizations aimed at helping military veterans once they leave active service.

The Veterans Day holiday was first observed in the United States in 1919 as Armistice Day, celebrating the formal agreement signed in Versailles, France on November 11, 1918 that ended World War I -- "the war to end all wars" -- between Germany and the allied nations of Britain, France and the United States.

Armistice Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1938, and remained so until 1954, when it was renamed Veterans Day in the aftermath of both World War II and the Korean War.

The U.S. Veterans Day holiday also coincides with other World War I-era holidays around the world, including Remembrance Day in Britain and the Commonwealth nations of Australia and Canada.

Zimbabwean immigrant Diana Chageza, whose husband is service in the United States army and is currently based in Afghanistan, tells Studio 7’s Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye she is proud of the work her husband is doing for this country.

In Zimbabwe, some war veterans say the government should seriously consider introducing war veterans day in honour of those who participated in the liberation struggle of the 1970s, which led to independence in 1980.

For perspective, Studio 7’s Gibbs Dube speaks with war veteran Max Mnkandla and social commentator Thabang Nare.

Mnkandla says there are various stumbling blocks in introducing such a day in Zimbabwe where war veterans get at least a monthly pension of $150.