Marston Students Speak
By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, November 16, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
Special to the Atlantic News
HAMPTON -- Marston School students in grades 3-5 were invited by music teacher Gus Carlson to write short essays entitled "What Veterans Day Means to Me" for the school's Veterans Day assembly, held on November 9. He anticipated that three of the essays (one from each grade level) would be selected to be read aloud to their honored guests at the assembly. However, says Carlson, response for the voluntary activity was so impressive (with more than 100 students submitting their work) that he selected 10 to be read at the assembly. They are reprinted here in this week's issue as part of the Atlantic News' annual Veterans Day coverage.
"Veterans Day means we should honor people who were or are in a war. My great-grandfathers were both in a war. My Grampa Al was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. I think that Veterans are very good people. I also think Veterans are people who are very brave to go out and risk their lives. I think that Veterans Day is a good way to thank all the Veterans."
- Cloe Olson, Grade 5
"Veterans Day is not a popular holiday. We don't get candy or presents, but we do get the day off from school. What could be so important about this day that we don't go to school and our parents get the day off from work? For me, Veterans Day is a day to honor my family members who have served in each war, from World War II to the first Gulf War. One of my grandfathers was in the Vietnam War, and the other was in the Army. Two of my great-grandfathers served in World War II and one was actually in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. My father was in the first Gulf War. This year, Veterans Day is about remembering the soldiers who are fighting for peace right now. Some of them are dying and some of them are getting shot and being really hurt. They all would rather be with their families, but they feel their job is too important so they keep fighting for peace to protect us. So this year, I want to honor Veterans Day by putting an American flag in my front yard, to honor those who risked their lives for me. I will also pray for those who are fighting today."
- By Sarah Fitzgerald, Grade 3
"What Veterans Day means to me is to honor the Veterans that were in the service. Veterans Day is to honor the men and women that helped save America. I think the Veterans don't get enough credit. They are the reason America stands right now."
- By Tyler Aversano, Grade 4
"To me, Veterans Day is a day to remember and honor veterans all over the United States, like the Coast Guard, Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy. Almost every family all over the United States has a member who is a Veteran or in the Armed Forces. If I could I would like to say "thank you" to every one of them. So take this day, November 11, to remember all the men and women who served our country fighting for freedom. Thank you!"
- By Maggie McDonald, Grade 4
"I would like to say a few words on behalf of Veterans Day. Veterans Day means a lot to me. It represents al the great people who were in the military who fought for freedom for our country. Another thing that's really important to me is how they risk their lives so we can live our lives the way we want to. Veterans Day also means putting a flag on my grandfather's grave and saying "thank you" to him and all the other Veterans."
- By Kelly Arsenault, Grade 3
"Veterans Day means a lot to me. It means that millions of men and women go out to fight for what they believe in. Lots of people come back. But we don't just honor the ones that have died; we also remember the ones that have lived through it, too. Alive or not alive, they are all heroes in our hearts. Veterans Day was not a day just to be sad about the ones who have been kind enough to die in battle. We should be happy that millions of people are out there saving our wonderful country. My grandfathers have been in the armed services so I now how those people in the Navy feel like. Some people mix Memorial Day with Veterans Day. I think that Veterans Day is celebrated because of the support the armed services and how they have helped our country. Veterans Day is a great holiday. The more kids that enter this writing contest all have a love for one of the best holidays ever. I thank Mr. Carlson for giving out this assignment and making kids realize that Veterans Day is special, exciting and wonderful. I bet right now Veterans all over the world are happy and they want to know why. Before I started this paper I didn't really care about Veterans Day, but now I know why we celebrate this very great holiday: We celebrate it because we want to show that we care."
- By Abby Arsenault, Grade 4
"I think Veterans Day is a day to think about the people who have risked their lives for us, and spent their lives defending and helping our country. Veterans have served our country through the Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Marines. We live in a free country, and most people just take that for granted. But we only live in a free country because of the Veterans that have made this place a good, safe place to live in. If Veterans had not served America, there might not ever be a time when you could speak your thoughts. Public places might not be so public, since African Americans and Asian Americans may not be allowed to enter them. There would probably be no elections either. Without Veterans there might even be no America. Wow, Veterans have certainly changed our lives! So, the least we can do to thank these brave men and women is to make a holiday for them, which is Veterans Day - the day when we realize how important Veterans are in everything we do. On Veterans Day, we can honor these courageous people who risked their very own lives for our very own lives, and for our country. So, I just wanted to say "thank you" to all the Veterans that have secured our freedom and helped our country in so many wonderful ways.
- By Kate Casassa, Grade 4
"I think Veterans Day is a very important holiday. I think it is important because it honors the noble soldiers who survived a very hard thing: War. It is an amazing joy and a great reason to celebrate. It is a good thing that we honor the brave men and women who risked their lives for their country. These people are what made America what it is today. Without these brave souls, we would be lost. It is very important to honor these wonderful people for their wonderful service to this amazing country. American Veterans are definitely worth celebrating. Hoorah for the Veterans!"
- By Sarah Lamie, Grade 5
"I think Veterans Day is an honored holiday. It is important to respect and honor the people who have served in the military. The people who put their lives at risk let us be free and safe. On this day we should unite as one to give thanks to all Veterans, including firefighters and police. All the people who serve us are heroes in my eyes. Someday I hope to serve my country as a Marine. I will help to keep the USA free and safe. I want to say thanks to all Veterans, especially those who died or were injured in serving our country. I will always have a special spot in my heart for all Veterans."
- By Joe Ricardo, Grade 5
"Veterans have a strong heart, they fight for their country, they risk their lives - all to protect others. They are definitely extraordinary people. That is why we should honor these individuals. They think of others first and that means a lot to me. Here is an example of these kind people who risk their lives for others - but this person risked his life for the other people who were risking their lives for us! My Grampy (my great grandpa) was a medic in World War II. He ran out onto the battlegrounds and carried people who were wounded and injured to the nurse. That is my example of someone who risked his life to help others. This is why we should honor every single person who is or was in the Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Army, and Air Force, or in any of the military branches. That's what Veterans Day means to me."
- By Julia Valgenti, Grade 4
What Is Veterans Day And Why Is It So Important?
Each November 11, the United States observes Veterans Day – the one day set aside on our annual calendars during which we can honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much of their own lives in order to serve the United States as part of our armed forces. In this essay I will outline the purpose of Veterans Day and how it came to be. I will also examine some of the reasons why it is important to observe this particular holiday.
The designated date of November 11 has a symbolic meaning which is why it was selected as the most appropriate day to honor our military veterans. It is the day which symbolically marked the end of the first World war in 1918. Fighting came to an end at 11am on November 11 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. In 1926, Armistice Day was celebrated for the first time when an unknown American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery a site of great honor in the United States. Similar ceremonial burials took place at Westminster Abbey in England and at Arc de Triomphe in France which are also sites of high honor. From that day onward, Armistice Day was celebrated annually as a way to pay tribute to everyone who fought in World War One. In 1938, Armistice Day was proclaimed an official national holiday. Unfortunately, although many had dubbed World War I the ‘war to end all wars’, peace did not last and the second world war erupted in 1939. Following the end of the war and with the realization that there was undoubtedly going to be more war in the future Armistice Day was officially renamed Veterans Day starting November 11, 1954 as a national holiday to honor all veterans who had served America in any war past, present of future.
There is often some confusion between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but the difference between them is actually very simple. Memorial Day, which is celebrated on the last Monday in May, is a day of remembrance of the men and women who died in service of their country. On the other hand, Veterans Day is a celebration and a thank you for the service of all United States military veterans who are alive or dead. Veterans Day is intended to honor the sacrifices that they have made to help retain the freedom of American citizens – something that many of us take for granted.
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This leads us into why it is important to celebrate Veterans Day. When the holiday was first officially declared it was intended to be a day on which there would be parades, public meetings and when businesses would cease trading if not for the day then at least for a short time around 11am as a mark of respect. However, it often seems like there are fewer people participating is those kinds of activities largely because there is no legal requirement not to open a business on the day. However, it is incredibly important for American citizens to make time to celebrate our fighting men and women. We are lucky enough to live in relative freedom. This is very much thanks to our Veterans. These brave men and women have put their own lives on the line to ensure that we have the freedoms that we enjoy every single day. Surely for this reason alone, dedicating one day a year to offer our thanks to them is a small price to pay. Veterans Day is also important because it is not just the serving military members themselves who have sacrificed themselves for our freedom and safety. Think about the families of these service men and women who have also had to give up many of the things we take for granted.
In conclusion, Veterans Day is an important national holiday which celebrates veterans of the United States Military, regardless of which war they have fought in. It is important to observe Veterans Day in order to make sure that we honor these brave men and women who serve our country. Considering the great personal risk to themselves these brave souls are willing to fight for what is right. For this they deserve to be appropriately honored on Veterans Day.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp
History Channel – http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-veterans-day