by Elena Arida
Veterans Day came and went on Nov. 11 with minimal notice from students or staff in WHS. Although the holiday is often celebrated by those with friends or family who have served, the larger school community seldom takes the time to observe the day. WHS has the potential to help the meaning of Veterans Day resonate with its students through the ways the holiday is recognized in school.
Some argue that the best way to show recognition for national days of observation like Veterans Day is to celebrate them in the same way as other major holidays-- by having the day off from school. However, long-weekend holidays often become just an opportunity for students to sleep in and catch up on work and the true meaning of the holiday is lost. Instead, there are several things that can be done in school to distinguish Veterans Day from a normal school day and reinforce the importance of the holiday.
Lesson plans that incorporate U.S. military themes would help to accomplish this. An English class discussing war poetry or a psychology class studying psychological warfare would raise awareness and appreciation about the U.S. military and Veterans Day.
While various classes may have incorporated the holiday into their lessons, I have never observed Veterans Day in any of my classes at WHS. Students would benefit from these lessons if they were made a priority school-wide.
In addition, pulling the school together as a faculty and student body would help to recognize the holiday formally. Assemblies and flag salutes have both been done by the middle schools in Westfield and would be appropriate ways to pay tribute to those men and women who have served and protected Americans.
A beloved member of our school community, Assistant Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson, is currently serving in Afghanistan. WHS should prioritize support for members of the U.S. military, both past and present, as not only a display of American pride, but Blue Devil pride as well.