It is fitting that Veterans Day will always share a month with another national holiday – Thanksgiving. While one promotes giving thanks for the bounty of our great land, the other focuses our thoughts on the men and women who have sacrificed their time, effort, and lives in very tangible ways to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and for their posterity.
Would it not be fitting if every school district in America recognized Veterans Day with special lessons or programs. But many school districts and their students will not disrupt their normal routines to pause, to understand, and to appreciate what military service entails and what that service has meant to the history and development of this nation. They will not pause to say “thank you” to the veterans in their own communities who chose to serve their country in one of the most tangible ways possible.
I am proud to be part of a school district and a community that will have a program for students, veterans, and their guests on November 12th at Clare High School. The program will be followed by a luncheon in the library provided by the high school faculty and staff. I am happy to know that a number of other schools in the area will also be engaged in this deserved and respectful recognition and expression of gratitude.
In 1780 the American patriot, Thomas Paine, wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” When Mr. Paine made that observation, our forefathers were engaged in a deadly conflict with a mighty world power that regarded the freedom fighters of America in the same way that America may regard the “insurgents” that oppose us on several fronts today.
It has always been possible even if difficult to shirk military service no matter the existence of a draft or a volunteer force. During the Vietnam War many “sunshine patriots” chose residence in foreign lands to military or alternate service to their country. At war’s end, a forgiving nation granted amnesty to those who fled as an act of national healing. Those who interrupted or gave their lives for that war received little gratitude until a black granite wall more than 246 feet long was constructed. The Wall, engraved with more than 58,000 names of patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice, has slowly but surely caused our nation to show more respect and appreciation not only to memories of those on The Wall, but also to surviving and since-deceased veterans of all wars.
All veterans of past and present active or reserve military service residing in the Clare area and their guests are cordially invited to attend the Clare High School program starting at 9:30 the morning of Monday, November 12th. They are asked to contact the high school at 386-7789 to provide their names and branches of service so that a roster and lunch plans can be made.
The program will include instrumental selections by the Clare High School Band and vocal selections by current and former students and staff. Three area veterans will join State Representative Joel Johnson in making short presentations. Several inspirational videos will also be presented. The luncheon will follow. Prior to the start of the program the Clare VFW will replace the flag in front of the school. The Mt. Pleasant Army Recruiting Station and the CMU ROTC program will provide the color guard. Sound Productions will provide audio and video support.
Clare Public Schools and its students, faculty, and staff would like to recognize our veterans
Clare High School