November 11, Veteran's Day and also my parent's anniversary. Forty-six years of marriage!
But today I am writing about Veteran's Day, a holiday that Big E has been studying in school. For the first time, his school had a Veteran's Day Celebration, which took place today since Veteran's Day was a Sunday. The students were to pick a friend or family member who served or is currently serving in the US Military to honor/memorialize. Big E picked my dad, who was in the Army from 1960-1962. So today, I took my dad to Big E's school to look at the time line which started in the early 1900's with some history and went to the present. It was full of historical facts, pictures of loved ones with their branch of armed service listed, the years served, relationship to the student and a picture(s). It was very touching, especially those who submitted pictures of tombstones for loved ones who were killed during a time of war/conflict. We then had breakfast in Big E's classroom and each student got to introduce their veteran. The veterans then got to talk a few minutes about what they did in the military. One grandfather served in WWII and worked directly with General MacArthur. He even had a signed picture! We watched a video put together by one of the HS students for a project that included interviews with veterans from our city. One man told a story about when he was in Vietnam and was surrounded by the enemy. After a three hour battle, only four men in their troop were still alive. He tells about being shot in the arm and how a fellow soldier gave him morphine and carried him from spot to spot to save his life. The video was kind of hard to watch, though I am not sure the kids grasped the full magnitude of it. For the adults, however, there was a lot of sniffling. The video was broken down by wars/conflicts and their dates. It's hard to look at pictures of a battle and dying boys and men (and in the current times, girls and women, too!) and not think of the scene from "Saving Private Ryan" where the soldier cries out for his mom as he dies. How many times in the past and currently has that happened? It's hard to think about.
After the video, the school then had a parade. The entire student body, all 2,500+ of them plus the staff, lined the hallways and carried small flags as the veterans and their student walked the halls with their branch of service. All in all, it was a touching tribute to our veterans and I am sure they all were proud to have such a nice celebration in their honor.