New Trier fails to honor our veterans

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For those of you who missed it, Veteran’s Day was this past Monday. And while New Trier had classes almost every other high school in the area didn’t.

In 2011, we observed the day by not having school, but probably only because we were getting the days before and after off for parent-teacher conferences. However, on Veteran’s Day in past years, New Trier has honored those who have served our country by having a flag raising ceremony before school.

But let’s be real. What student is going to get up earlier than they have to in order to see our flag being raised? Not many.

If that’s our “big” event to celebrate our heroes, then that is pathetic.

For this reason, we really need to do something else during the school day to get more students’ attention so that we can all honor the men and women who serve our country. Maybe an assembly or perhaps teachers could take a day off from their lesson plans to discuss it. But it’s obvious that if the school does not do anything for the veterans during the school day, then they are not doing our armed forces justice.

Veteran and math teacher Robert Rowe said the point of this day is to bring awareness to the people who are defending our country so that the rest of us don’t have to. “It’s easy to forget or take for granted sacrifices others make,” added Rowe.

I think people do not realize how lucky we are to live in America where serving in our army is voluntary. Most countries make serving mandatory at a certain age (for males) and I have seen that tear families apart when their brother, for example, has to go serve. Also, even though we have been attacked (Pearl Harbor and 9/11) by foreign countries, we have never had a world war take place on U.S. soil—knock on wood—like other countries have had.

This should be an even greater reason to recognize our soldiers for their voluntary protection they provide for our nation. Not sufficiently doing something for them is a bit like disowning them in a way. It is like saying, “yeah, we know you are there, but we don’t really care enough to take the day to honor you.”

If Veteran’s Day was not that important, then why is there a holiday to praise those who fight? Why are most schools and government offices closed? This is not a “Hallmark” day like Valentine’s Day or Halloween and should be celebrated. Ironically, I think we do more to celebrate those two “holidays” better than we do to celebrate our own fighters on Veteran’s Day. On those so-called “holidays”, we glorify candy, but we do not recognize the protection soldiers provide us on their day. #DumbAmericans.

Where is common sense people?

The way we honor our veterans at New Trier may not be sufficient enough, but at least we are not taking it to the extreme that the Northwestern football team has taken it for tomorrow’s game against Michigan University.

Just one glance and anyone can make the conclusion that the NU uniforms look like blood is splattered from head-to-toe. A veteran from my church said he finds this very offensive and he’s not the only one.

In an article published by CNN, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Rieckhoff, tweeted Monday the uniforms are “Not OK.”

But Northwestern’s Paul Kennedy, assistant athletic director for communication, claimed in a statement that the streaks of red and blue represent “a distressed pattern on both the stars and stripes that was inspired by the appearance of a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time.”

Obviously, someone was not thinking clearly when he or she came up with this design because to whom do these blue and red streaks look like “a distressed pattern” of the American flag? Northwestern really just needs to come out and say “You know what? We messed up and we are sorry about it.”

The damage is done though. They have probably offended all vets for sure and most likely many other people.

However, if this is not bad enough, the university threw some additional dirt in the wound when they said only 10 percent of the proceeds from the replica uniforms they auction off will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Seriously, only 10 percent? What happened to the other 90?

With Thanksgiving basically around the corner, this is not the time to be selfish. It’s the season for giving, remember?

Well, many lessons can be learned here. Number one: we, especially at New Trier, need to take the day to actually honor the men and women who fight or have fought for our country. Number two: don’t go over board and offend people on the day when we should be recognizing them. And number three: if you mess up, just apologize—but do it before it’s too late.