Wednesday, November 11, 2009

just say thanks

What is a veteran?

I used to think it was someone who had served in a war. Then when the grandkids were working on a Veteran's Day project a few years ago they taught me that a veteran is anyone who has served in the military (yes, I was clueless til just a few years ago, and yes my grandkids are smarter than me!)

A veteran is defined by federal law, moral code and military service as "Any, Any, Any"... A military veteran is Any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch. ~ American War Library

I attended a Veteran's Day concert and program yesterday at the middle school where two of my grandkids attend. There were real veterans carrying flags in the ceremony, marching in to the patriotic music of the middle school band, the chorus sang, "Oh say can you see..." (granddaughter Madison in the front row - the one with the big mouth voice!)

The winners of the veteran's day essay contest read their winning words:

If the US didn't fight in WWII, it would be different, we would probably be ruled by Nazis...

The keynote speaker was a veteran - not one of the white haired gentlemen sitting in the honored seats out in the middle, not one of the elderly soldiers in uniform who carried in the flags, but the head of the custodial staff at the middle school. At first almost apologetic for not serving in war time, she went on to outline her military career, from leaving her small home town of Ellijay to serving in military intelligence and traveling as far away as Japan.

Sure the kids learn about our military history in their textbooks, they memorize the important dates like 7 December 1941 and 6 June 1944, but this performance by real live veterans presenting the flags of their individual branches and hearing real stories by a person they see every day at school will stay in their memories longer and bring home the importance of this day. Well, hopefully it will, if they paid attention, they are in fact teenagers and it was an excuse to get out of class. Anyway, I enjoyed it and congratulate the school on a great program.

To repeat what was heard yesterday - "If you see a veteran anywhere, don't just pass them by, stop and say Thank You!"


Clara said...

A wonderful story, Susan. Thanks for stopping by my blog. There was quite a large group of people who participated in our 365 Photo Challenge this year. Right now, we are trying to come up with another type of challenge for next year, and you are welcome to join us.

Gypsy Quilter said...

How wonderful that the school held a ceremony.