On the eleventh hour of the eleventh month, 1918, World War I ended. The nation decided to celebrate by honoring those who have served and are serving in any branch of the military. Originally known as Armistice day, former president Eisenhower changed it to what it is today in 1954.
This was information presented in a History Channel video presented to the students in their English classes. Now more than 80 years later, the COVID-19 disrupts the normality of the world. Since MHS is remote learning, MHS could not hold its annual veterans day assembly. Instead,members of the National Honors Society installed “American flags around the school perimeter to commemorate the event.”said Social Science and World Language department chair Christopher Lagoia.
At MHS, the National Honor Society organized a flag set up outside the high school. “After putting up the flags, I felt honored to get to participate in that tradition,” says Junior Marisa Spada about the event.
This year’s remembrance was a bit different with the COVID-19 restrictions set by health officials. Normally, students would gather in the assembly and listen to a presentation on Veteran’s Day.
Spada shares that this year was different for her because “everyone had to wear masks when they were setting up the flags, [and we] didn’t get to have the normal Veterans Day assembly to honor Veterans at the school.”
In place of hearing important perspectives in person, Seniors Elle Mishler and Hannah Cho interviewed two women that are involved in the military and veteran affairs. A recorded video shows the two MHS students asking questions to Zaneta Adams and Linda Chapa LaVia.
Adams served in the Army and National Guard for eight years after graduating from MHS in 1995. Chapa LaVia served in the Illinois Army National Guard and went on to be elected to the Illinois House of Representatives.
Lagoia adds that Director Adams graduated from MHS in 1995 and was scheduled to be the speaker at this year’s assembly. “When the decision was made to cancel the assembly, Director Adams was willing to pre-record a message to our students, [which] developed into an interview with Director Adams and her colleagues Director Chapa LaVia,” said Lagoia.
When asked if they joined the military right after high school, Adams answered that she wanted to “feel powerful, feel strong, and to serve my country.” In contrast to the Director, Chapa LaVia joined the army to pay for school. And while it was the first reason, when Chapa LaVia got there it was “to become a full patriot. I mean, it’s life changing,” she said.
November 11 is a special day for family members of those who’ve served in any way. Some of our very own teachers at MHS, like english teacher Jim Drier, have loved ones to honor.
“My dad was a doctor on a ship in the Navy during World War II,” Drier said. “He had some really interesting stories about his experience.” Another member of the Drier family, his aunt, was an army nurse in world war II in Burma. Drier’s brother in law served in Viet Nam.
Although Drier has family anecdotes himself, he found the interview “pretty cool, and notes that “Veterans Day is a time to honor those who served our country. They made many sacrifices.”