Veterans Day: A Day Of Celebration, Remembrance, And Thanks


Elena Krueper, Staff Writer

Veterans Day is a time to honor, cherish, and celebrate veterans all over the country. On this day, people should take the time to really reflect and give thanks to the people who have served and offered their lives to make this world a better place.

As most people know, Veterans Day is a day to thank veterans for all that they have done for the country and to honor their bravery. Cymantha Jones, a sophomore at EHS, reveals that many of her relatives served in the military. She shares her story: ”My great grandfather served as well as my grandfather, my father, and my godfather.” It’s not surprising that Jones isn’t the only one at Elkhart High with military history; however, since the U.S. Military only seems to keep on growing, and while there are about 17.4 million veterans in the United States, every one of these vets has a different story to tell.

In fact, Mr. Dan Walsh, a Physics and ICP (Integrated Chemistry and Physics) teacher at Elkhart High School, is one of these people. He states that he was a member in the United States Navy and he “served a twenty-year career” until he eventually “retired from the Navy in 2005.” Walsh goes on to convey his reasons for joining the military. Continuing, he says, “ I wanted to serve our country, and I wanted a career in the military. So, I applied for and was offered a Navy ROTC Scholarship to the University of Notre Dame in 1980. The Scholarship paid for tuition, books, administrative fees, and gave me a monthly stipend.  While in school, ” Walsh adds, “I attended a Navy ROTC class every semester and participated in an internship program during the summer.  In return for paying for my education, when I graduated from Notre Dame I was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy and went to Flight Training in Pensacola, Florida.  My minimum commitment was four years.  However, I continued to serve for 20 years.” Walsh’s story is one for the books. Not only did he serve in the Navy for two decades, he also became a teacher and continued to serve people even after his time spent in the military. 

In order to celebrate Veterans Day, there are numerous steps that people can take and events that people can attend. Jones explains: “My family and I go to the Veterans Day parade to celebrate.” People can celebrate the occasion by attending a local Veterans Day parade like Jones (there are many different parades all over the area) and/or by making a care package to send to active service members overseas or to their local VA to thank them for their service. People can also celebrate by simply paying the kindness forward and thanking the veterans in their lives for all that they have done (like Mr. Walsh, for example!)

For veterans, however, this day is extra special. Mr. Walsh celebrates this day in a few different ways. He reveals this: “First, I wear my Navy uniform to work for two reasons.  First,” he begins jokingly, “because it still fits after 16 years!” But on a more serious note, he adds, “Second, because it reminds me and others of my service.” Walsh’s day does not end there. “I also usually attend the Veterans Day Ceremony at the University of Notre Dame.  In addition,” he concludes, “there are many discounts that are offered on Veterans Day.  It’s easy to go overboard.  However, I stick to the basics.  I usually get a free haircut from SuperCuts, lunch at Martin’s and a car wash.  Besides that, it’s just another normal day for me!” 

Veterans Day is also an extremely momentous holiday for future military cadets. Walsh is eager to inform students about some of the steps they can take to help prepare themselves for the future. He states, “I started a Civil Air Patrol Program at Adams High School because there was no JROTC Program there.  I would encourage students who might be interested in the military to get involved in the ECS Air Force JROTC Program.  This program,” he goes on to explain, “introduces students to the leadership and knowledge necessary to be successful in the military.  It also provides students with an opportunity for ROTC scholarships and acceptance to Military Service Academies.” Walsh also explains how he may be of help to future enlistees. “I am a Blue and Gold Officer for the U.S. Naval Academy. Therefore, I am a volunteer Admissions Representative for the Naval Academy, which helps students through the Academy application process.”

It is very significant for people to celebrate Veterans Day since veterans have sacrificed so much to make America what it is today. Jones chimes in. “I believe celebrating Veterans Day is important because of the huge impact it has on vets and their families. I also think that it’s important teens learn and participate, because we are the next generation. So, it’s up to us to improve the treatment of our veterans every day–not just on Veterans Day.” Veterans are an essential part of the U.S., and it is crucial for citizens (young and old) to celebrate, admire, and respect them. Walsh says it best: “It is important to celebrate Veterans Day to remind people of the sacrifices that military members perform so that we can enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Remember to thank and commemorate veterans on this holiday–and everyday–to show appreciation!