Remembering Our Veterans

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Remembering Our Veterans

Students walk through the Veterans Day Hall of Honor in the mini gym at McAuliffe Middle School.

Students walk through the Veterans Day Hall of Honor in the mini gym at McAuliffe Middle School.

Source: Maleah Fennessey

Students walk through the Veterans Day Hall of Honor in the mini gym at McAuliffe Middle School.

Source: Maleah Fennessey

Source: Maleah Fennessey

Students walk through the Veterans Day Hall of Honor in the mini gym at McAuliffe Middle School.

Maleah Fennessey, Staff Writer

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Last Monday, November 11, was Veterans Day. It’s a day reserved to thank those who fought in the United States Armed Forces. This often-overlooked national holiday is much more than just a free day from school.

Imagine this: it’s 11 in the morning, November 11, 1918. Perhaps you are in school, and you are tending the school garden as many students at the time did. The news comes over the radio that the Germans formally surrendered and that the first World War is officially over. Hooray! There is dancing and cheering in every street and tears of joy are shed. But, there are many casualties. How will America honor those who served?

Veterans Day is a day to remember everyone who has served in any branch of the United States military. They can be living or dead, have died in the war or during peacetime, and have been in a war or never fought in battles. However, Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is only for remembering those who were killed during warfare.  

At first, Veterans Day was simply known as “Armistice Day,” marking the first anniversary of the end of World War One. Armistice Day was declared a national holiday on May 13, 1938. Its name was changed to Veteran’s Day in 1954. Since then, more than 45,000 charities have been founded for the welfare of veterans, and red poppy flowers were established as a symbol of remembrance. Some common traditions observed include flying the U.S. flag half-mast, donating to or volunteering at veteran’s welfare charities, such as Volunteers of America, and participating in events like McAuliffe’s Veterans Day Hall of Honor, or parades.

So, what is there to know about this hall? Firstly, the creators of the hall are Ms. Bellendir, Mr. Thomson,  Mr. Grillo and Ms. Miller who organize poster contributions from history students of all grade levels. It was founded about three years ago as an important way to honor veterans. “I think Mr. Grillo might’ve come up with the name ‘Hall of Honor,’ so you can give him credit for that,” says Mr. Thomson, an eighth-grade history teacher. 

Participants make a poster honoring a friend or family member who has served in the U.S. military. Posters need to include a short biography paragraph and photos of the person. Students walk through the hall with their history class after all the posters have been completed and hung. 

Why is it so important? “Most people don’t give enough thought to the people who give up their whole lives just to keep us safe, so I think we should take some more time to learn about that,” discloses Joshua Cucchi, a seventh-grader who contributed a poster to the Hall of Honor.

Next Veterans Day, take the time to honor a veteran in your life and consider participating in the Hall of Honor. Remembering those who fought to bring us freedom is an important step in preserving that freedom.