National Doctors' Day Should be Designated a Federal Holiday

National Doctors' Day Should be Designated a Federal Holiday

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Archer Gu started this petition to U.S. House of Representatives and

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, our society has been turned upside-down; schools and businesses are closing, and hundreds of millions of citizens are being told to shelter in place. As the pandemic continues to envelop the nation, it is undeniable that the novel coronavirus and social distancing has affected many, if not all aspects of daily life, for Americans of all ages, races, and occupations. While the media continues to focus mainly on the political leaders who continue to enact new policies in attempts to slow the spread of the virus and “flatten the curve”, the people who are directly working to comfort patients and save lives on the frontlines tend to have little acknowledgement for their immense efforts and personal sacrifices. Despite their critical importance in the battle against COVID-19, they are rarely recognized or applauded by society for their willingness to risk themselves to save the lives of others, and even special days such as National Doctors’ Day are largely unrepresentative of the tens of thousands of doctors and nurses battling back against the virus every day, with a general societal lack of recognition of their efforts. These people on the frontlines deserve much more than the relative ignorance that they generally receive from society; for this reason, National Doctors’ Day should be designated a Federal Holiday to ensure that the doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 (as well as against other diseases) on a daily basis are rightfully honored for their services to society rather than being relatively forgotten, as they currently are as of now.

In our current society, doctors and nurses around the country play lifesaving roles, from performing critical medical procedures to making suggestions to others to better their lifestyles. While there is some limited recognition of them in the United States, such as National Doctors’ Day on March 30 every year, such events are still not widely recognized. Although National Doctors’ Day is technically signed into U.S. Law, its observance is dwarfed in comparison to other holidays with similar purposes, most notably Veterans Day (which is a federal holiday). Despite the many comparisons of the battle against COVID-19 to a “war”, including comparisons from U.S. President Donald Trump, in which the doctors and nurses in our hospitals have become the soldiers on the frontlines, these heroes are not nearly appreciated enough for their sacrifices in combating the virus, on top of normal procedures such as caring for victims of car accidents. These doctors and nurses compare in many ways to war veterans that should qualify them for a federal holiday of their own. They must risk themselves to exposure with a hyper-contagious and potentially lethal virus, whereas soldiers risk their lives under threats of enemy gunfire and assaults. They often have to suffer through trauma and mental upheaval in watching the slow, excruciating pain or even the deaths of many patients, whereas soldiers in war struggle with PTSD after intense operations or the loss of close friends in combat. And perhaps most critically, they are rarely understood by the vast majority of society, with very few people knowing of the true extents of their sacrifices, similar to how many soldiers struggle to cope with their mental health because nobody else around them knows their pain. And our overall lack of appreciation for our selfless medical workers is disheartening for them. Why should they not have their own federal holiday? They are our veterans too, especially in the midst of the current pandemic.

So how will the designation of National Doctors’ Day as a federal holiday improve their recognition from where they already are? Such legislation would place the holiday at a similar status as Veterans Day, where a full day would be reserved for the recognition of a critical group of citizens in society. A day off to recognize our healthcare workers breaks the routines of most Americans, giving them time to consider the reason for the holiday and to thank such people around them. However, without such a status as a federal holiday, National Doctors’ Day would just seem routine in the lives of most Americans, with little focus being diverted to appreciate the efforts of the healthcare workers in our society, who save countless lives around the nation on a daily basis. In this way, giving Americans even just a single day off from their usual lives would greatly increase the recognition of our normally-underappreciated doctors. Especially at such a critical moment in the history of the United States, with an unprecedented pandemic sweeping the nation, it’s about time that our medical workers received the appreciation that they deserve.

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