Letter to the Editor: School Observes Veterans Day

— from Tom and Karen Ritter —

A tribute to the military veterans of the United States of America was conducted on Thursday November 9th at Orcas Island Public School. This special event has been conducted for five years and each time it becomes more dramatic and “professional.”

Early this morning a large number of veterans and their spouses assembled in the school cafeteria for breakfast and exchange ideas. Then they “marched” to the gymnasium and as they preceded the path was lined with at least 55 elementary school students who recognized each veteran with loud applause. Then the veterans and the public gathered in the gymnasium along with all students of Orcas Island Public Schools. In addition the Orcas Island Community Band was present to perform. There must have been 450 people who assembled for this special event to witness how the students and staff expressed their respect and appreciation to the military veterans. Everyone on Orcas Island should have attended this ceremony.

The ceremony began with “Presentation of Colors” by the American Legion of Orcas Island. Then the Orcas Island School District band played the “National Anthem” and every one stood tall with great pride. The elementary students sang “In Service to Our Country” with strong enthusiasm. This was followed by the rousing and patriotic music “Armed Forces Salute” by the community band conducted by Jim-Schaffer Bauck.

Rick Hughes, San Juan County Councilman, gave tribute to the veterans and their service to our nation. Then “America the Beautiful” was presented by the Orcas Island School String Orchestra directed by Pamela Wright.

The keynote speaker was Tom Fiscus of Orcas Island who is a retired General of the U.S. Air Force. His powerful speech was directed to all veterans of all past wars and to the students who were inspired with his emotional message about the cost of freedom.

The student leadership team presented a Flag Folding Ceremony. With each fold of the flag a student cited a message from many of the American patriots. The celebration concluded with the song “Still in My Heart” that was sung by the elementary students and the grand music “Washington Post” presented by the Orcas Island Community Band.

This prime event was organized by Kyle Freeman and Lorena Stankevich. You can enjoy a video of most of the ceremony by visiting the web site for the school district.

The most important message is that the teachers and the students of the public school system understand the fundamental reasons why our nation is strong and that they honor America and the value of freedom.

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Letter to the Editor: School Observes Veterans Day — 7 Comments

  1. This entire exercise in security state propaganda sickened me, but the final paragraph really capped it. While I always vote for the school levies I now wish I had my ballot back. As Dr King said, “A country that spends many times as much on armaments and preparations for war than on programs of spiritual uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

    Are we the yet?

    Forcing such propaganda down the throats of school children is akin to making them drink embalming fluid.

    Give veterans what they need to survive and heal but stop glorifying a corrupt state apparatus that steals from our children while pretending to keep them “safe.”

  2. Hello Mr. Murphy – We US-based fortunates blithely go about our daily business, generation after generation, blessed by geographic isolation, only remotely familiar with names like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Pinochet, Noriega, Idi Amin, Mao, Kim, bin Laden, Khomeni, and all the rest.

    Dr King was a gift to us all as we come to our collective societal senses, Mr. Murphy, but maybe some of us veterans have seen/lived a much bigger, much more ominous global specter, and we chose to resist, even if we saw the need to take up arms in self-defense.

    Bombastic talk of propaganda and school children and embalming fluid only fans flames which distract our focus, methinks. If we were better listeners, History would not keep repeating herself.

  3. Mr. Murphy,
    If you looked at the election results, you know your vote was not needed. As a veteran, I am assuming, that where ever you went to school they did not teach you that Veterans are the reason you have the freedom to write and say whatever you want. If you served your county in the military, your experience must have been unpleasant. Have you ever considered what this county would be like, if Hitler, Hirohito, or others had taken over the United States?

  4. Glad to see the VFW faction stays up on all of the Fox talking points about “specters” and famous war criminals and, my education which was at the hands of a Jesuit rained attorney and Smeper Fi WWII Vet who debated me most every night on matter of war and peace. He came to despise – as did Veteran Patriots Dwight Eisenhower rand Smedley Butler – what the military had become, a plaything of corporatists and racketeers.

    Talk all you want about Stalin and Hitler or our current Mussolini in the White House, but oh, that’s right, my vote wasn’t needed,


    The military state does not defend nor define my freedom.

    have a nice day

  5. Thank you Tom and Karen for your excellent reporting of the school event celebrating Veteran’s Day. I wasn’t able to attend, but certainly appreciate the work by all involved, teaching students a small bit of what it means, what it takes, to defend freedom. Thank you also for the careful mention of the names of the speakers and those who made the event possible, along with their interaction with the students. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend next year. After reading the earlier comments to your report, a teaching moment presents itself. That these school children are exposed to a bit of our history on Veteran’s Day is a wonderful thing, to learn that freedom isn’t free, to learn to respect our flag and our exceptional country. With luck they will never know what many Veterans will never forget. Finally, a bit of history: The phrase “If you want peace, prepare for war” comes from the latin, Epitoma Rei Militaris, by the Roman General Vegetius – but his words fell on deaf ears, while the Roman treasury was spent on “bread and circuses.” Ronald Reagan adopted the concept with his words, Peace Through Strength. He said, “We know that peace is the condition under which mankind was meant to flourish. Yet peace does not exist of its own will. It depends on us, on our courage to build it and guard it and pass it on to future generations.” And here we are, celebrating Veteran’s Day at our local school, teaching, doing what we can to preserve our American way of life. Thank you Tom and Karen for your many years of service to our country and for your excellent report. Rex Chadwell, CW4, US Army, 101st Airborne Division, Vietnam Veteran.

  6. Joseph… amen!!

    The Ministry of Truth isn’t going to like that post…

    All propaganda aside, nearly all of our Wars: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and our proxy wars in Syria, Georgia, and Yemen have been fought not for “our” survival, but over markets and resources, to ensure compliance with our policies, and secure US global hegemony.
    How can we possibly hope our children will be prepared to cope with the world they will inherit if we won’t even be honest about the past.