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Starbucks CEO: Veterans Day ‘has been turned into a weekend sale’

The CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company criticized the way America treats its veterans on Monday, saying that Veterans Day “has been turned into a weekend sale,” and more needs to be done to understand the military experience.

“That’s not respectful for me,” said Howard Schultz, speaking at an event for veterans at The Washington Post.

Schultz appeared along with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald, Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran and some veterans to discuss how those who serve can continue to contribute to America after they take off the uniform for the final time. There’s a business case to hire veterans into corporate jobs, Schultz said, citing the “authentic leadership” they bring. But it has to be ingrained in the hiring practices of companies, he added.

The panel discussion, “Leading the Way,” is one of several events planned in the nation’s capital this week in conjunction with Veterans Day on Tuesday. Notably, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Eminem, Metallica, Rihanna, the Black Keys, Dave Grohl and other entertainers will combine Tuesday night to put on The Concert for Valor on the National Mall. The event — outlined here — is sponsored by Starbucks, HBO and Chase, and will air on HBO at 7 p.m.

Schultz, who never served in the military, is pushing other corporations to reconsider how they evaluate veterans for jobs. He just released a book, “For Love of Country,” that is co-written with Chandrasekaran and includes the stories of numerous veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Schultz said the book and concert are both efforts to get more people to talk about the veteran experience. The concert will include vignettes drawn from the book and delivered in filmed segments by entertainers like Will Smith and and Tom Hanks.

“We have to ask ourselves, what kind of nation are we? What kind of nation do we want to be?” Schultz said. “I think not only does the veteran deserve better, the American people will deserve much more by understanding collectively what we have done.”