Spending Veteran’s Day in school gives students an opportunity to remember and respect


Kate Schneider

Veterans honored throughout the city of Chicago.

Every morning third period, the whole school rises and recites the Pledge of Allegiance. Although repeating the same 31 words every day may feel mundane, it is a simple way to give thanks and honor the Americans who protect and serve our country.

Although we take time every day to say the Pledge, Tuesday, Nov. 11 is a day completely dedicated to the celebration of the men and women who serve or have served in the U.S. military.

Veterans Day has been a holiday since 1954, and since then, communities across the country have found different ways to honor these brave Americans. Many government offices are closed, mail is not delivered, restaurants offer deals for veterans and schools are closed. Wait. Schools are closed? Not all of them. This is the first time in many years that D214 students are required to attend school on Veterans Day.

Some may argue that kids should spend this holiday with their family rather than with their teachers and peers. But although it is always nice to have a vacation day off, it is important for students to be at school so they can truly appreciate and learn about the history of the holiday.

Usually when students have a day off of school, they use it to catch up on much needed sleep or the latest episodes of “Castle” (yes, I am guilty of this). In doing so, we neglect to take the time to reflect upon the meaning of the holiday and to honor those who should be remembered. This is why it is important for us to be in class for Veteran’s Day, so our teachers can teach us about the holiday and how it has affected our country. Similar to 9/11, teachers take the opportunity to help us as students remember the importance of the people who have risked everything for our country.

Both of my grandpas are veterans, one served in the Korean War and the other in World War II. Countless stories are forever engraved in my mind about their experiences. One of my best friend’s father served in the Marines for six years. Another one of my close friends graduated last year with plans of going to California to train to be in the Marines. BG’s own technology director, Jeffrey Vlk, was an Army Reserve. Everyone around us knows someone who has served in the military, whether it be a friend, relative or teacher.

While posting a photo on Instagram or tweeting can show that you are thinking about the holiday, it’s not enough. It’s through the conversation, the stories, the discussion, that we can truly remember and honor those who have served.

So when you are sitting in class, instead of daydreaming about what you would be doing with a day off, think about a veteran you know. Think about the strength and courage they possess. Think about the fact that they dedicated themselves to protect you, your family, our country. When you say the Pledge, think about its meaning. Wear your red, white and blue with pride, because although Veterans Day only comes once a year, our veterans deserve  constant, utmost respect.