Earlier this week we commemorated Veteran’s Day very simply at HMS by having a hallway celebration, something we have done many times. At about 8:10 AM our staff and students proceeded out into their respective hallways and I went onto the intercom and gave a brief history of Veteran’s Day. Immediately after that, our morning custodian and Vietnam Vet Rick Dyer led the school in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Mrs. Grady’s third graders who led the school in a rousing version of My Country ‘Tis of Thee. It was a simple observance as we have a couple of other patriotic celebrations throughout the year that are much more involved.
After a particular bruising political campaign, it was nice to be able to model for our students the importance of recognizing the sacrifice that our Vets have given, no matter what side you are on the political spectrum.
My father was a World War II veteran, having served in the Asian theatre as a Staff Sergeant of a 25 man radio crew. I grew up with stories of a man who put his life on the line because he believed in his country. We may not agree on the validity of the war in Iraq, or the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But I admire the bravery of these soldiers while I’m able to sit here in my comfortable house tapping on my MacBook.
Years ago when I was teaching middle and elementary school, I assigned oral history projects to my students. Many sat down with WW II vets, hit “record” on the tape player and listened to life stories that seemed many galaxies away. Unfortunately, this Greatest Generation is fading away quickly, in fact, if my father was still alive, he’d be in mid-80s. I hope you have a chance to give your children the experience of meeting someone with the experience of serving their country in some capacity.