Kids Learn About, Learn From Veterans

A Veterans Day program at Easton Middle School in Easton, Maryland

Former President John F. Kennedy once said, “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.”

Mister Kennedy spoke from firsthand experience.

He was an honored veteran of World War Two.

But he recognized that when there’s a war, people pay a heavy price – especially the young men and women who are sent into battle.

But when our very freedom is in jeopardy – as it was during World War Two – it’s a price those men and women pay willingly.

“It means to me they love our country,” said 11-year-old Rebecca Delporto, a sixth-grader at Scarselli Elementary School in Gardnerville, Nevada, in an interview with the Record-Courier, her local newspaper.

This past week, in the week leading up to Veterans Day, kids at schools across the country have been listening to veterans, talking with veterans and honoring veterans.

“I learned that all of these people fought for what they believed in,” said 14-year-old Kelly McBurney, a student at Shaler Area Middle School in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “And they fought for us.”

But Veterans Day is not just about war.

It’s also about peace.

After all, it marks the end of World War One – the war that was supposed to end all wars.

(For more information about the history of Veterans Day, check out “A Day to Honor Veterans” in the “Weekly Features” section of this website.)

Sadly, that was not to be the case.

Thousands of Americans have gone to war since then.

Some have never returned.

And some who did return came back with deep wounds – both physical and emotional.

But at schools across the country, veterans are telling kids they did what they did to preserve our freedoms back here at home.

“All these people … are going out and fighting for my freedom to go to church on Sunday,” said Savannah Frye, an eighth-grader at Riverbend Middle School in Catawba, North Carolina, in an interview with Charlotte TV station WSOC.  “Even just to come to school to get an education.”

At Riverbend, Savannah and other kids decided to honor veterans by putting up more than 4,000 flags – one flag for every day that US troops have been at war against terrorists in Afghanistan.

And at Shaler, the students showed their appreciation by inviting veterans to a special breakfast.

“These people have done so much for us,” said Shaler eighth-grader John Melde, in an interview with Pittsburgh TV station KDKA.  “It’s nice to let them know that … we really appreciate them.”

A lot of kids know veterans very well.

Their fathers served in the military.

“He worked on helicopters for a long time,” said 9-year-old Aden Pillsbury, a student at Scarselli Elementary, in an interview with Record-Courier reporter Caryn Haller.  “I like veterans because they serve the country and help us.”

“I didn’t really think (before) about how my dad has served in the military,” said Riverbend student Rachel Blake, in an interview with WSOC.  “He was a part of something bigger.”