As a veteran, I am filled with pride and hope when I see Canterbury children like my granddaughter Linden (Class of 2031) exposed to the ideal of selfless service. Canterbury encourages students to promote good citizenship by making a contribution, in some way, to our society’s common good.
In many ways, their Veterans Day ceremony, as well as other events and commemorations that are part of Canterbury’s character education program, are as essential for our children’s development as other curriculum subjects.
Veterans Day occurs yearly on November 11. The Armistice signed that day in 1918 marked the end of the terrible slaughter of World War I. Each November 11 thereafter we honor the sacrifices of so many Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine men and women who served our country throughout history, especially those who gave their lives or were seriously disabled as a result of their sacrifice.
With so few of the U.S. population volunteering for military service these days, it is important to recall why we honor our veterans, especially each November 11. I can remember how some people reacted to military personnel returning from Vietnam. Young draftees facing taunts and criticism because they did their duty as ordered by their country. Many people neither understood their sacrifice, nor that of the veteran’s family. Whether serving voluntarily or involuntarily, all veterans past and present serve our nation. This creates a debt owed by our nation to the veterans. We ignore that debt at our own peril. Therefore, I view the ceremony at Canterbury as a valuable and powerful reminder of the debt.
I offer gratitude and thanks to all the teachers and staff at Canterbury for keeping this Veterans Day tradition alive. Allowing any and all local veterans to be a part of this celebration and share their stories with younger generations honors all those who served then and serve now.