Veterans assemblies more valuable than day off


Instead of being at home on Veterans Day, students were in school. And while some weren’t happy to start, the Music Department’s assemblies at East and West Leyden led students to appreciate the cancelled day off.

Each year, if Veteran’s Day landed on a workday, it was treated as a day off while the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was a school day; however, this year the school board decided to have Veteran’s Day be a school day, making the Wednesday before Thanksgiving our day off. Since this holiday does not require schools to close on this day, it’s decided by the state or school district whether that day is a school day or not.

For the past few years, Leyden musicians have been performing Veteran’s Day ceremonies in the evenings for the community. But because school was in session this year, the Music Department was able to perform its event for all. It featured a flag folding ceremony, history of the Star Spangled Banner, a Stars and Stripes march, the national anthem, and “For Freedom” sung by the Chambers in a 25 minute performance. The color guard set the table with items that symbolized the soldiers who are missing in action.

This day allowed students to commemorate the people who served in the war that were not only people in our community. Mrs. Vazquez said that it also gave a chance to honor veterans ”who work at Leyden. I don’t think necessarily the whole school knows that we have so many people who served here, or that some have unfortunately lost their lives serving for this country.”

vetsweb3This day changed the attitudes of students who originally disapproved of the idea of having school on Veterans Day. Senior Shay Osborne said, “It was really bogus, and that’s why I was really upset because pretty much every other school didn’t have school that day.” Despite her feelings, she attended the assembly and was able to recall her late grandfather. Although he didn’t die in a war, he did fight in World War II and the Vietnam War, so she still felt a connection.

Other students, like sophomore Victor Aceves, mentioned that the assemblies held on Veterans Day allowed him to acknowledge the day for what it is rather than just a day off.

As for the performers, this gave them a new enjoyable experience. Sophomore Katie White from Gracenotes said, “It was fun to see their faces when they recognized the songs we sang, and it made them all happy, so it was really fun.”

Beyond just the impact the assemblies had on the audience, they gave the Veterans a lasting impression of the how the younger generations view their hard work.

Victoria Spencer, wife of William Spencer, a veteran and engineer who served in the Vietnam War for two years, said that even though her husband was tired that day, he said, “I have to go represent my country.” She added, “It makes my husband feel better when the young generations acknowledge them more than the older, but this is nice that Leyden does this. All my brothers and sisters went here; I went here. We didn’t have a program like this, and I just think this is wonderful. I thank you all for making them feel so important and honored.”