So in your example (which is completely unrelated and a completely different set of circumstances than dealinmg with veterans day) what exactly did you do to deserve different work assignments that are more desirable? Were you there longer? Do you have the same qualifications to do that work? Do your coworkers have the same qualifications to do your work if you were to change work loads? Basically, what entitles you to tell your boss that you deserve a different work load that is more desirable? Veterans have fought for years about trying to get the day off, and in most instances they have lost the fight. So going to HR and pleed with them about being able to get it off paid (and it is ridiculously stupid to suggest they use a vacation day, sick day, or other form of paid time off that they also earned) when it is something they earned when they served this country. The whole point of what I have been saying is that they already earned it, they shouldn't have to pleed, beg, or use other earned time off in order to take the day off paid.
BTW, contradict yourself much? "And, to be fair, getting Veteran's Day off paid need not necessarily involve a change of work either......OP could apply to work for their state government, apparently doing the same or similar work, and get Veteran's Day as a paid holiday." But I thought you said they didn't necessarily need to change their jobs? Even doing the same work, say an electrician for a private company and changing to an electrician for the coty government are 2 different jobs, not to mention 2 completely different environments that could make working for the city be completely undesirable.
Cinco de Mayo- no. Now there could be an argument made for them to take September 16th off as it is the Mexican Independence Day. Eid al-Fitr is a religious holiday for them, but is it a necessary holiday to take off? I don't know as I am not that familiar with it. In a way it could be seen similar to Good Friday, but how many Christians get to take that day off paid, even with Easter on Sunday. But if you want to question whether or not I think everyone should be treated equally, I view that as a trap question, and it also opens up the possibility of people trying to justify getting nearly any and every single day off paid that they want. And when I mean I see it as a trap question, I will explain with one question. Would it be considered racist for there to be a paid holiday that only white Americans get off?