When I was approached by a good friend of mine who is a teacher, and asked to take part in speaking to her 1st grade students about what it is to be a Veteran of the military, I couldn’t pass the opportunity up. While on my usual search through out the internet searching for resources and information for us veterans, I stumbled upon The History Channel’s website. The website had a special page dedicated to honoring the men and women of the Armed Forces, but it also had a section about a new program called “Take a Veteran to School Day“, which would bring military Veterans into the classroom to share their stories about serving in the United States Military.
Being given this opportunity, I knew I had to do some planning so I can really make this a great experience for not only the students, but also for myself. Speaking to 1st graders was a first for me, especially when it came to speaking to them about what it was like serving in the military. I decided to fill my N.Y. National Guard back pack with pictures, my old uniforms (including my father’s Vietnam uniform) and my medals, to bring to life my story for the kids. In the end the kids loved every bit of it and so did I. They had their questions ready for me, and I too had questions for them which they enjoyed answering. We looked through the pictures of me in uniform, and some kids even shared stories with me about their grandparents and parents being veterans themselves.
The 1st grade class at St. Patrick’s Parochial school gave me a better perspective of what we’re really fighting for. We fight so our future generations can continue to grow up in a safe world, a world where they don’t have to be in fear of attacks by the most evil individuals who will stop at nothing to instill fear in those with different beliefs. Though it saddens me to think that the children overseas in places especially like the Middle East, see war everyday and are even raised to hate others at such a young age. It is the children that suffer the most in war and it is us adults who should everything in our power to make this a better place for us all.
Veterans day will be tomorrow; a day I will always look forward too and a day I will always celebrate by thinking about my friends and everyone else who continue to serve. Today going into the classroom and speaking to these students was such a great experience and already I have been requested to come back next Veterans Day, which I have already agreed too.
A Special Thank You to the 1st grade class of St. Patrick’s Parochial School.
– Your Veteran Friend, Steve