Reflecting On the True Meaning of Veterans Day

SOUTH CANAAN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- With Veterans Day falling on a Sunday this year, many schools in our area are observing the day this week with special activities.

Students and veterans got together in Wayne County on Thursday to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday.

A choir sang the National Anthem as the audience inside the Western Wayne High School auditorium stood to honor the flag during this Veterans Day assembly.

"I think it's important that our students understand the sacrifices that our veterans have made to ensure that our democracy is a safe and wonderful place to live," said Maj. Shand Grodack, as social studies teacher and Iraq War veteran.

Teachers who put on this assembly every year tell Newswatch 16 they think being in an auditorium with veterans will allow the students to learn more about what Veterans Day means than just learning about it inside a classroom.

"I think it's the experience of seeing the veterans, seeing what they've done for our country, what they've done for them. The imagery is powerful, more powerful than reading it out of a textbook," Grodack said.

Grodack's referring to images of foreign wars playing for the audience, but he's also talking about what the students see in person in between the songs and speeches -- like a World War II veteran in his original uniform or watching a Vietnam War veteran finally receive his high school diploma.

Harry Howell entered the service when he was 16 years old. This Vietnam veteran received his GED at sea but is now getting recognition more than 50 years later.

"Makes me feel good," Howell said. "I think it's a great honor that the administration and the school board is acknowledging me."

"Seeing Mr. Howell get his high school diploma today was absolutely amazing," said junior Noelle Orehek. "It's inspiring for us to stay in school and to know if you have hardships, you can always come back from them and get that wonderful diploma."

The assembly provided a Veterans Day lesson these students are likely to remember for years to come.

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