Education column: Schools commemorating Veterans Day

According to an official website, “on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect.” It was the following year that Armistice Day, (changed in 1954 to “Veterans Day”) was commemorated for the first time.

This year the holiday falls on 11-11-11 and, along with our schools, many individuals, groups and institutions across our nation will be holding celebrations to honor all military personnel who have served in all wars. Many educational institutions will take advantage of the “Take a Vet to School Day” program; at other schools teachers will do classroom activities to commemorate the holiday.

At our own Marshall Middle School on this upcoming Veterans Day, a very special event has been planned for Nov. 11. Although full-blown details are as of yet a bit hush-hush, Marshall is inviting family members of those students who have someone serving in the military, along with other distinguished guests, to attend a special Veterans Day Assembly. Following the assembly, Marshall will host a luncheon for active-duty family members to show appreciation for their sacrifices and service to our country.

In addition, the Veterans Day celebration at Marshall will serve as the kick-off for Military Connections’ care package drive to thank Marshall’s family members and local military personnel that are currently deployed. Military Connections is a group of students who meet bi-monthly, connected as a result of their active-duty parents. Along with Marshall’s Parent Involvement Committee and National Junior Honor Society, all work together to reach out to our military families and community members.

This year Military Connections also invites the community to support their care package endeavor. Items that are particularly appreciated are nuts, candies, beef jerky, magazines, Sudoko puzzles, socks, chewing gum and any other non-perishables.

Donated items can be dropped off at the main office at Marshall, and the goal is to collect items from Nov. 11 through Dec. 9, at which time the items will be packaged and mailed in time for Christmas. If anyone has questions, they are encouraged to contact Marshall’s Brittany Behenna or Lynn Fronk for more information at 769-4410 or send an email to Brittany.behenna@clovis-schools.org or lynn.fronk@clovis-schools.org.

Few would argue that the old three R’s of Readin’, wRitin’, and aRithmetic are key foundations of our children’s education. However, acknowledging and commemorating holidays such as Veterans Day in our schools provides a distinctly unique opportunity to embrace our heritage; pausing briefly to celebrate such occasions not only keeps our cultural ideals alive and well in the minds of our students, but also teaches them invaluable life lessons about service and sacrifice.

A John Fitzgerald Kennedy speech included these words: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”