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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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A ripple effect: The deeper meaning behind Veterans Day

Outside+Veritas+Christian+Academy+is+a+thank+you+veterans+display+created+by+students+in+third+through+eighth+grade.+On+Thursday%2C+Nov.+9%2C+Veritas+hosted+a+Veterans+Day+chapel+to+honor+veterans+and+encourage+acts+of+service+for+Veritas+students.
Credit: Katya Luzarraga
Outside Veritas Christian Academy is a “thank you veterans” display created by students in third through eighth grade. On Thursday, Nov. 9, Veritas hosted a Veterans Day chapel to honor veterans and encourage acts of service for Veritas students.

Veritas Christian Academy displays a vibrant, uplifting message thanking veterans for their service. The display, created by Veritas Art Teacher Noelle Pierce, honors the history of Veterans Day by showcasing red paper poppies with thank you messages written by Veritas students. The display serves as a reminder for passersby to practice gratitude and service in Wayland.

In addition to the display, on Thursday, Nov. 9, Veritas held a Veterans Day chapel celebration, where a panel of veterans answered questions about their time in the military and the impact service has left on their lives.

“[This celebration is] a great opportunity to represent veterans from all services and to give children a sense of the meaning of Veterans Day,” retired Lieutenant Colonel Keith Cerci said. “Hopefully, [our presence can] share a little bit about the sacrifices that people have made for our country and for everyone in it. It’s important that [the children] know that.”

The purpose of this chapel service was to highlight veterans’ service to our country and encourage reflection about how students can take part in acts of service within their community, whether they have a military connection or not.

“The hope of this chapel is to give more time to allow for awareness, because not everybody comes from either a military family or is connected in some way,” Director for Spiritual Development and Service Learning Lisa Cerci said. “So, as a larger community, the chapel focuses on how we can increase the awareness, and then be able to work on cultivating invitations for us as a school community to become involved [in acts of service].”

[The veterans on the panel are here today] to show kids that it is possible to serve in the military, and that [the military is] not just all guns and bullets, because there’s a lot of stuff to do in the military. It was an honor to serve, and I would do it again, one hundred percent.”

— Marine Corp Sergeant Bo Lewis

Throughout the year, Veritas will be working with a number of non-profit organizations, like The Boston Project, Worth A Life Ghana and the New England Center and Home for Veterans (NECHV), so students are able to see the impact that service projects can have on their community. On Tuesday, Nov. 28, Triage and Outreach Specialist from NECHV Polly Klein will speak with Veritas students about the work that the center does to assist veterans and how students can become involved.

“I have so much respect for what veterans have done for our country and the freedoms that we have because of the sacrifices that people have made,” Klein said. “For me, just being able to work with that population and help people who have issues from their time in the service, for whatever reason, is really important work.”

The Nov. 9 panel, which was hosted by Veritas music teacher Sean Beckett and a seventh grader from the school’s newspaper, allowed students to hear about why each veteran decided to serve and emphasized the idea that anyone can serve in the military.

“[The veterans on the panel are here today] to show kids that it is possible to serve in the military, and that [the military is] not just all guns and bullets, because there’s a lot of stuff to do in the military,” Marine Corp Sergeant Bo Lewis said. “It was an honor to serve, and I would do it again, one hundred percent.”

Veterans Day honors the sacrifice of veterans, but not all veterans have been welcomed home from the military in the same manner. After the Vietnam War, some Americans shunned Vietnam War veterans, viewing them as reminders of the United States’ defeat in Vietnam. Some veterans get emotional when they think about the behavoir that Vietnam veterans received.

“I was fortunate to serve at a time when the military was a little bit more revered, but I know Vietnam veterans who are friends of mine who, when they see each other, say ‘welcome home,’ because they never got welcomed home and it makes me cry every time,” Air Force Staff Sergeant Amanda Phillips said.

Red paper poppies with thank you messages written on the petals are displayed on Veritas’ fence. (Credit: Katya Luzarraga)

During the chapel, Veterans acknowledged their gratitude to be able to be a part of a legacy that is greater than themselves, and view this legacy as an important aspect of Veterans Day.

“As a veteran, it’s good to be recognized and also to express our gratitude for service, and then to have that camaraderie with the other veterans from other branches,” Lewis said. “We come together and we talk about this day, not only for us, but for veterans from hundreds of years ago, from World War I to now. We’re just grateful that Veritas has given us, and given me, the opportunity to express my appreciation.”

We hope that a seed was planted, and that this was a different chapel with a message that is going to resonate at whatever age and stage students are at. [We hope] they can grow in awareness, and that they continue to help, not only their classmate who’s next to them, but in the world as they grow.”

— Director for Spiritual Development and Service Learning Lisa Cerci

Veritas staff hope that this chapel service allows students to recognize the sacrifice that veterans have made.

“My son-in-law is in the military, and my brother and sisters have been part of the military,” Beckett said. “[Additionally,] my dad was in the Navy, so even though I did not serve, I saw that sacrifice. I don’t think we all recognize the extent of that sacrifice, and I think it’s important that as a society, we recognize that what we have is at the cost of what people have given up.”

Veterans hope that students take away a renewed sense of service and selflessness from the panel and become involved in their community.

“I think [this panel] is a great opportunity for students to see that the military is an unconditional sacrifice, which means that we serve everybody,” Keith Cerci said. “We, as a military, are willing to lay down our lives for everyone in the country, not just those that we agree with, but also for those that we disagree with. It’s a sense of unconditional willingness to serve everybody with no conditions whatsoever. There’s a certain sense of legacy in that.”

Veterans hope that their stories inspire future generations to make a difference through any small act of service.

“I’m so proud of the military tradition and to be part of it,” Phillips said. “I want to represent veterans and share the positive side of the military when the military can often be criticized unfairly. I want to show the kids what might be possible for them. I hope they are inspired in some way to serve, whether it’s with my brothers in arms or in some other way.”

Veritas held this chapel service so students could hear stories of service and feel empowered to ignite a ripple effect in their community. To many, this chapel signified that no matter how small you are, even the smallest acts of service hold immense power.

“We hope that a seed was planted, and that this was a different chapel with a message that is going to resonate at whatever age and stage students are at,” Lisa Cerci said. “[We hope] they can grow in awareness, and that they continue to help, not only their classmate who’s next to them, but in the world as they grow. I want them to recognize that you can be respectful and agree to disagree on subjects, but, most importantly, that you have honor and respect for all.”

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About the Contributor
Katya Luzarraga
Katya Luzarraga, Staff Managing Editor
Katya Luzarraga, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and staff managing editor for WSPN. She plays for the girls varsity tennis team and is a member of Student Advocacy Committee club. She is also a peer mentor at WHS and head of WSPN club. Outside of school, she loves to take walks with her dog, discover new books and spend time with friends. Contact: [email protected]
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