Throughout the nation, Nov. 11 is recognized as Veterans Day. This day originated as “Armistice Day” to mark the end of World War I, but was later renamed Veterans Day to honor all of those who have risked their lives for our country. To commemorate all of the brave men and women, both living and dead, there are numerous ceremonies held on this day.
Even though Veterans Day honors all veterans, the Tomb of the Unknown, which honors a World War I soldier, serves as the central symbol for the day. At exactly 11 a.m., on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the Arlington National Cemetery, a wreath is placed on the Tomb of the Unknown. This is an elaborate ceremony that involves a parade of veteran organizations through the Memorial Amphitheater.
In addition to the laying of the wreath, there is also a parade that takes place in New York City. This ceremony includes 300 units and thousands of marchers, along with supportive civilians proceeding from 26th to 52nd Street. The honored service in the parade this year was the U.S. Air Force with the Grand Marshal being Buzz Aldrin. Aldrin is most famously known as one of the first people to land and walk on the moon. In addition, he was a part of the U.S. Air Force prior to becoming an astronaut.
At Saint John Vianney High School, many students have realized that it is important to honor and show respect for veterans each and every day. SJV’s Military Support Club participates in a number of projects and events during the year to honor veterans and active duty soldiers. This month, the club members sold red, white, and blue wristbands to support the troops and distributed “Army Men” as a reminder to be thankful to those who allow us to be free.
A member of the club, junior Gianna Wedwaldt, spoke about her experience with meeting a veteran, Captain Roberts, this month. She said, “Captain Roberts came back to SJVHS to speak a little about Veterans Day and what it means to the veterans. Overall, it’s really special to hear from a hero like Captain Roberts and see a little bit into the life of a true veteran.”
In addition to the Military Support Club, many SJV students have dedicated numerous hours to visiting the NJ Veterans Memorial Home. The trip includes veterans sharing their stories and students having the opportunity to thank them for their service. In addition, numerous games, such as bowling, shuffleboard, and trivia are played with the veterans. There is also an exercise hour which includes a giant circle, balloons, rackets, and some very excited veterans.
Elizabeth DeLeo, a student who recently volunteered at the home, stated that ”When it was time for us to leave, most of the veterans thanked us for brightening their day, which was such a rewarding experience. I had so much fun interacting with them and learning about their past experiences.”
It is important to always show appreciation for the brave men and women who fight for our country, not only on Veterans Day, but every day.