November 15, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, is celebrated on November 11th each year in recognition of the end of World War I. Today, Veterans Day is an opportunity to honor all American veterans, living or dead, and thank them for their service. Or, in the words of Ronya, a student at Madison Elementary:
“With our hearts filled with joy and our eyes filled with tears, we thank all you brave men and women who sacrificed their lives and families so that we could have a better life and call our country a home.”
More than 20 million veterans live in the United States today, and more than 16 million of those veterans served during at least one war. On a day dedicated to the recognition of service, we would like to honor the veterans who walk the Mindsight halls every day:
Dana Bailey, VP of Operations
Matt Cox, Director of Client Services
David Dahlbach, Senior Collaboration Engineer
Johnathan Hartman, Digital Marketing Associate
Chris Pereira, Solutions Architect
Madison Elementary School Veterans Day Service
Every year, Madison Elementary School hosts an impressive assembly service to honor service members, inviting veterans from the community to the event at the school. Mindsight’s own Dana Bailey joined eleven other veterans to share their experiences and receive honors from the students and staff. After individual introductions by Principal Tim Callahan – and a hearty dose of high fives by the lucky aisle-seated students – the veterans took a seat while students shared letters they had written to the veterans. A local boy scout troupe led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance, and all the students joined in to sing and sign God Bless America.
The students’ letters were particularly poignant. A common theme centered on the truth of superhero legends; without capes, veterans demonstrate true valor and courage in the face of extreme adversity and sacrifice. As Eliana read from her letter, “You are proof that superheroes are real.”
While every student thanked the veterans for their service, Calvin captured the deepness of that gratitude.
“I sleep well at night knowing that people like you keep us safe. On this day, we celebrate you and the contributions you have made. I can’t imagine being away from my family for so long and facing the dangers of war, or how frightened you must have been. You have made a great sacrifice for our country.”
In addition, the entire Madison Elementary School community came together and collected materials to donate to the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans (MSHV). As Principal Callahan noted, many American veterans are homeless at some point after serving. In fact, over 550,000 veterans were reported homeless in 2017, an increase of 1%. If you are able, please consider donating resources to the MSHV.
At the end of the assembly, the students lined the halls and gave the veterans an Honor Parade, which was, in essence, an endless line of excited elementary students offering high fives and hugs to the honored guests.
Dana Bailey Visits Kindergarten Classrooms
In addition to the assembly, several of the veterans stayed to share their experiences in the smaller setting of the classroom. Dana visited two kindergarten classrooms and talked about his time in the Navy as an AW SAR. As he summed it up for the students, “I flew all around the North Atlantic ocean in airplanes, and my job was basically to chase submarines.”
All great conversations eventually ask this most important question. “What if there was a shark?” Dana didn’t miss a beat: “There was only one time where we saw sharks. During training, we did this exercise in the Gulf of Mexico. And, this is a bit scary, there were hammerhead sharks in the water!” Thankfully, the story had a happy ending, and no cadets were injured during that training session.
Mindsight Honors Veterans
“You gave us a better country to live in. You are a leader and you guide us to freedom.”
Indeed, as Daniel said above, each and every veteran at Mindsight continues to provide service and leadership, through their acts of bravery, dedication to community, and inspiring citizenship. Though Veterans Day has passed, it does well to dwell for a moment on the closing words of the ceremony by Principal Callahan.
Perhaps, as he said, “Every day should be Veterans Day.”
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.