Let’s keep Veterans Day special
This last week, I was able to participate in my high school’s annual Veterans Day celebration. Our entire student body comes together every year in the gym to honor service members past and present, as well as to recognize those students who are enlisting in the military. For me, it’s always a touching event and one that continues to increase my appreciation for those who have made such large sacrifices for our country.
The reverence was felt throughout the room as the flags were carried in by the local VFW. You could hear a pin drop as they were placed on their stands and the band and choir performed the national anthem and several other patriotic songs. I would also like to compliment the speech made by Jim Hovda, who gave us students a great run-through of being in the military and what you should do to respect our nation’s men and women in uniform.
I feel like sometimes we’re losing our national connection and appreciation of those who have fought for us. It’s too easy to forget that we in the United States enjoy freedoms many in the world can only dream of. We take almost for granted that we can state our opinions openly, criticize our leaders and vote for who we want in office. It may sometimes seem like our voice isn’t being heard, but in contrast with dictatorships, we have the right to a voice.
Military funding is often under threat from our political squabbles, and programs that are supposed to be helping veterans, such as the Veterans Administration, have been exposed as being dysfunctional in some cases. This should be a top priority for legislators across the country to fix. The military and those who served have done their part so it’s only fair that we do ours.
I also see the way some people are angry at problems in our country, and so they protest the flag or other national symbols. The flag is a symbol of the country as a whole and what we stand for. It’s not something that should be used politically or for attention-seeking. Those who have a gripe should know our veterans fought for that flag every day. They fought for the freedoms people have to even make complaints in the first place.
Our country was won through the efforts of brave men and women who decided they were willing to risk their lives to throw off the yoke of a tyrannical monarchy and establish democracy. Soldiers of the United States have fought in many battles against high odds to protect what the very first Americans started, and for that reason I am forever grateful to those who ensure this country and everyone in it can live to their fullest potential.
It takes a special kind of stuff to make a commitment to serve your country and dedicate yourself to protecting it. Our veterans, and their families, go through so much every day in the service of millions of people they don’t even know. They are often sent around the world, risking their lives and comfort in all sorts of conditions.
So we should all strive to make sure we’re aware of how lucky we are to live in this great country of ours. We have public schools so all children can get an education. We have the freedom of religion, press and assembly. We have the right to bear arms and the right to a fair trial. That freedom came at a price, and that freedom continues to be defended by our veterans night and day.
I know thank you can be a little repetitive, as our service members hear it a lot, but I just want any veterans or military families out there to know just how much I appreciate their sacrifices for everyone in this nation. You are the reason America stays free. All of us here should remember that fact.
Connor Kockler is a Sauk Rapids-Rice High School student. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.
Author: Connor Kockler
Kockler enjoys extensive reading, especially biographies and historical novels, and he has always had an almost inborn knack for writing well. He also enjoys following the political scene, nationally and internationally. In school, his favorite subjects are social studies and language. Two of his other hobbies are golfing and bicycling.