Veterans Day Moment

November 11, 2014

This morning’s reflection at assembly.

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It’s Veterans Day.

I am a veteran and proud to have served my country.

On this day, I think about my fellow veterans and I think about young people. I think about you.

First, some history then I’ll come back to you.

Veterans Day is on November 11th every year.

The modern significance of this day derives from the fact that it was the last day of hostilities of World War I, when an armistice went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  November 11th, 1918. This was supposed to be “the war to end all wars.” It wasn’t.

November 11th became Armistice Day in 1929. The Congressional resolution noted that November 11th marked the cessation of “the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals” and that “it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer….designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding among nations.”

In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed that, given the millions of new veterans from World War II and the Korean Conflict, November 11 should be renamed Veterans Day. President Eisenhower’s proclamation read that we should  “solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

We have yet to achieve that enduring peace.

That’s the history, now the thought.

On Veterans Day and every day, let us honor and thank those who commit and sacrifice to protect this nation until that time of peace comes. Many of these soldiers, sailors, airman and guardsman are near your age yet have taken this oath. Recent graduates of this school have taken on this commitment. Think of them.

And let us hope for the wisdom, fortitude, and strength of heart to create that enduring peace that eludes us.  This is the highest purpose of our learning about the world. This challenge is not beyond you and needs your attention.

All of this is in the hands of your generation. We are with you, but it is young people who make the sacrifices and young people who may see a new way forward.

We are with you. We believe in you.

Thank you.

 

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One Response

  1. Avatar Tom Kowalski says:

    I am a 68 yr. old veteran of the US Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) from the years 1967-1970, and I am trying to find a fellow USAFSS veteran whom I lost contact with after our discharges in 1970. He talked of being a member of the Ski Patrol in Maine, and I think that he may have graduated from Gould Academy’s Ski Patrol Program in the mid 1960s. His name is Gregory Thornton, and he apparently received his primary school education in a one room school house on one of Maine’s coastal islands, where his mom was the teacher. I am sorry that I do not know which island.
    After he was discharged from the Air Force he also ended up teaching in a one room school house on one of the coastal islands, as I saw him interviewed on “Good Morning America” in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Again I do not know the name of the island where he taught. I am just hoping that someone might know where he is, or how I may get in touch with him; or would be so kind as to pass on my contact email, and name and address: I am Tom Kowalski (Air Force nickname he may know me by was “Doof”); 4115 County Route 91, Jamesville, NY 13078.
    We became good friends while stationed in remote northern Japan (Wakkanai, Hokkaido) 1968-69. We were as far north as one can get in Japan and endured very harsh year round weather and winters of blizzards with annual snowfalls of over 260 in. I have been trying to reestablish contact with several of my friends from that harsh assignment and have been successful with several. I would appreciate any help or guidance that you can give me. Thanks. Tom Kowalski

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