Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What Does Your School Do For Veterans Day?

Ronald Reagan once stated, "We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.”  

Thank you to all the brave men and women who dedicated their lives to allow us to live in this great country of ours! I am also especially grateful for having two wonderful grandfathers who both served during World War 2.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet up with my wife's aunt and uncle at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum in Rio Grande, New Jersey. During our time there, my two year old son who is fascinated with airplanes, ran to every plane or helicopter that he could get his hands on and even sit in. 

As we all laughed and smiled watching my son have the time of his life, my wife's uncle who is a retired military police officer and local police officer in NJ asked me a question that I could not answer with more pride then I did. "What does your school do for Veterans Day?" 

"I can honestly say with much pride that our school's Veterans Day program is the best in the state of New Jersey. We are the only school in the state of New Jersey to be selected by the Veterans Day National Committee and the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Veterans Day Regional Site. Our students interview a veteran from their family or one from town, write about them, speak in front of the entire student and staff population with the veteran by his or her side, make large poster board displays that go to local buisnesses, play Taps, have the students in choir sing and the band even plays for them. We had over 20 veterans attend, one flew in from San Diego to surprise his nephew and we even had a great grandfather who was 100 years old.   

The entire student body in the audience sat for two hours waving small American flags and homemade banners for each veteran present, with no misbehavior. They demonstrated respect, honor and dignaty throughly the entire assembly.  How could I not be more proud?

We also collected food, supplies and old cell phones, batteries and chargers that were sent oversees to active troops.  

There is also the "Post Crashers" initiative, which is students, parents, staff and community stakeholders who give up a few Saturdays to help restore the local Veterans Hall. These individuals embraced this service learning project that requires them to paint walls, ceilings, replace light fixtures, rip up and replace flooring as well as landscape a yard that hasn't been touched in years. Yes, they do this voluntary out of the goodness of their hearts and not for grades!  They even made up their own theme song and dances as well.  

Once this hall is finished, I can only imagine what they will do next.  How they do not have their own HGTV or DIY network show amazes me. To see students from 5th, 6th,7th and 8th grade working so hard for veterans who served our great country is tear jerking."

After my reply, I asked my wife's uncle, who now works in a school district in another region of the state the same question that he presented to me.  He stated he was so upset that the building doesn't really do anything and that he went out of his way to place a Veterans Day bulletin board in the front of the building for all to see. His response left me upset, shocked, and wondering how many other schools who are open on Veterans Day partake in any events.  I know in my heart that he will continue to work hard at trying to make a change for the better within his new school and help everyone see as to why it is so important to honor our veterans.

As I made the long drive back home I could only wonder, "What does your school do for Veterans Day?" 


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