A Salute To Veterans
Heroes come from all walks of life, but those easiest to recognize are the ones who wear the uniforms of the United States armed forces. This coming Monday, November 11, we celebrate Veterans Day, the national recognition of all US military veterans and commemoration of the signing of the 1918 armistice ending World War I.
With so much of what troops do to protect our country happening behind the scenes or in countries far from us, it is easy to undervalue the service they provide. These are the men and women who are willing to defend us on land, on sea, and in the air. They are also among the first to respond to natural disasters, provide security, assist in rescue operations, and provide humanitarian relief — the kinds of everyday heroics that make a difference in everyday lives.
Our schools have put great effort into introducing students from the youngest to the oldest about the human faces behind our military. Veterans Day activities are promoted at every level, drawing together veterans, their families, and those less familiar with military life.
Recently, two Newtown schools were honored for valuable instruction regarding veterans.
Newtown Middle School and Middle Gate Elementary School received recognition for outstanding participation in the “Remembering Our Heroes — Teaching About Veterans” program, a collaboration between the Connecticut Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Remembering Our Heroes” honors schools that provide opportunities for student to learn about veterans and their contributions, with only six in the state so honored this year.
Along with inviting veterans to their school to be recognized and thanked each November, Middle Gate also devotes teaching time to learning about the military branches and what a veteran is, as well as holding Constitution Day and Flag Day assemblies.
Older students at Newtown Middle School host a veterans/student breakfast and celebrate guests with a student-led assembly.
The annual effort of Newtown’s other private and public schools are no less valued. All actively work to let veterans know, at least once a year, that they are not forgotten. Interaction with experienced veterans is a year-around inspiration. Perseverance, honor, diligence, obedience, and faith are just a few of the characteristics that young and old learn when they meet with veterans of the military service.
The US Census Bureau tells us there are more than 18 million military veterans in the US, 1.6 million of them women who have or are serving our country. Connecticut boasts more than 217, 000 veterans.
Young people enrolled in our schools learn about the men and women devoted to our country. As adults, we can take time to reflect on the friends, relatives, and neighbors we know who are proud to call themselves veterans.
On Monday, VFW Post 308, 18 Tinkerfield Road, will host a Veterans Day ceremony, at 11 am — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The public is invited to attend; it is the perfect opportunity to show thanks to veterans of today and yesterday.