I know they might think it is weird, but I hope they appreciate it too. Whenever I see a person wearing a cap labeled “veteran” in some way, I try to muster the courage to interrupt what they are doing to say thank you for their service. It is indeed a little awkward, but I figure I can survive a little awkwardness considering what most of our veterans have endured.
I do not think I have the courage to join the military. I certainly don’t have the physical stamina to endure basic training in any branch of the service, much less the fortitude to complete hours of watches, timed gun assembly and a myriad of other tasks associated with modern soldiering. But I am so grateful that someone has, and that we have a day set aside to honor that service.
Though I am often against unfunded mandates from the state legislature, the law requiring schools to host a Veteran’s Day assembly each year is a good one. Fewer of us have a direct connection to the work of our soldiers, and therefore cannot understand that sacrifice. For our students to get to meet veterans and servicemen and women each year is truly a treat. Teachers and administrators take pains to express to the students that these assemblies are not pep rallies. In all the ones I have attended, I’m proud to say it seems the students have listened.
Each school conducts their own version of the assembly. I’ve heard several speeches from veterans, seen a reenactment of the Iwo Jima statue, and heard our bands perform the theme song for each branch of service. They all make my heart swell with pride for our nation, and pride in our schools for taking the time to put on such meaningful productions.
If you are a veteran, you are invited to your local school to be a part of their assembly. Just call them up and ask when it is! We’d love for our students to meet you, learn about your story, and thank you for your service -- even if it feels a little awkward to receive that praise. We owe it and so much more to you.
Happy Veterans Day Putnam City!