Local elementary school students celebrate American Legion and VFW members.
By Bethany BROWN
Lincoln Elementary School in La Crescenta held an assembly on Wednesday, Nov. 10 in celebration of Veterans Day. Many students’ family members who are veterans or active duty military were present and recognized for their service to the country.
Operation Gratitude packages were given to each veteran as they waited for the assembly to begin. Operation Gratitude is a non-profit organization that delivers care packages filled with items donated by Americans across the country who want to express their support for heroes whether overseas or here at home.
“I remember getting care packages like these in Korea when I was there,” Joseph Shaw said. “We didn’t expect it, so it was always an uplifting surprise.”
Shaw served three years in Korea (1980-1983) as a specialist in the U.S. Army and was later stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He said when thinking back to his time spent in Korea, he mainly recalled the extreme weather.
“It was very, very hot and very, very cold,” Shaw said. “It was different, but I learned a lot and got to do a lot of fun stuff.”
Lincoln Elementary School student council speakers introduced each present veteran by name and rank and shared with the audience when and where they served. Students related to the named veteran were asked to stand next to them as they stood in front of the audience to be honored.
Veterans in attendance served in wars as far back as the Korean War (1950-1953) and as recently as the war in Afghanistan (2001-2021), which officially marks the longest war in U.S. history surpassing the Vietnam War (1955-1975) by five months.
“On behalf of all these men and women in the front I want to thank you Lincoln Lions for recognizing us today and remembering us today,” Lieutenant Lynn McGinnis said.
McGinnis provided the audience with a brief background on the origin of Veterans Day. The day of remembrance originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, which was the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
“When you learn more about history later on in your education, you’ll learn that most people in America thought World War I was going to be the war to end all wars,” McGinnis said. “We know that didn’t happen – but it is still a day of celebration.”
McGinnis emphasized the many ways veterans continue to serve the nation long after being discharged from the military through their affiliation with various organizations of service like the Kiwanis Club and the American Legion, among others.
“Tomorrow [Nov. 11] while you’re at home enjoying a day off, take a minute to remember the reason you got the day off from school; join everybody else in this nation and celebrate the men and women who have made our nation the great country it is,” McGinnis urged the students.