The crowded eighth grade hall at Andrew Jackson Middle School was teeming with talking youth. It is 8:19 in the morning. I am ready for a full day at the school. Hidden in the discussions of peers and classes reside some deep thoughts about Veterans and what they mean to the students. I head down towards Mr. Wall’s English Language Arts Class. I am going to meet with some 8th grade students and talk to them about the Veteran’s Day Program on the 8th. I hope to be able to share some tips and pointers to the three different classes scheduled for today.
I was greeted warmly and politely by each class. I enjoyed talking and engaging with each class. I talked about the various jobs that one might have in military service. I especially wanted to dispel that every member of the armed forces was a shooter and killed others. I focused on the notion of a city that had all kinds of jobs.
I then sat down with Regan Cameron, Jennifer Nance, Ethan Adams, Cody Gordon, Kionna Anthony, Tamara Shopshire, Brayden Baker, Taylor Parker, Evan McWilliams, Summer Bohler, and Devin Clinton to talk about the ways middle school students look at Veterans day. I met with just 3-4 students at each time period, and over all interviewed all 11 students. What follows is their thoughts and comments. I leave them unattributed as I believe these thoughts will reflect many students not just one. They shall speak as a team rather than individuals.
“I like it because you can show your appreciation for veterans and show how much you care.”
“Means to, like, to thank and celebrate the veterans for us to be free.”
“Veteran’s Day is a day we set aside when we recognize those who have been in the Armed Forces and have served to protect us.”
“They risk their lives to save ours.””I think people should respect them not just with a parade for them. You should thank them for their time to keep us safe.”
“If you have not been a veteran, you don’t know what it is like. The movies and news is how we picture it and stuff. We don’t know how it was really like.”
Diving in Deep:
“Some people treat veterans differently based on their jobs, Like those who flying planes, They may be more recognition.”
“Just because someone flies a plane doesn’t mean they are more important than a cook.”
“They need to know that the people, the veterans people, they went so they could provide for their families.”.
“ I want to go to each one and every veteran and talk to them. People are saying thank you for your service and walking away. I would like to take the time and to talk to veterans. I don’t just say thank you, it means something to me.”
“My grandfather was a veteran. When he came back I knew a lot. He was simple, he said he went through a lot, and seen a lot of stuff. He went overseas to Iraq and Iran.”
“I was in fourth grade when my Grandfather on my dad’s side went off to war in Iraq too. He came back around Christmas and went back for another year in the service. He never came back. I have always looked at Veterans Day like I had more memories to it.
“Some [students] don’t have veterans in their families. Some of them don’t know what it is like to have someone in the military not come back.”
“The smallest thing can be the most important thing. Like a football team, everyone says Quarterback, Quarterback. But no one talks about the front line. The Front line is more than half of the team.”
“It doesn’t matter what you did serving in the military, You are part of the team. You are a Veteran.”
The role of the veteran in a students life is much deeper than on can show in a two hour presentation. They think deeply about who they know and the impact in their lives and those of the other students. There seems to be a thirst to know more. The lives and deaths of those in the Armed Forces impacts them deeply as well.
If you are a veteran, or a student, I would welcome your stories and interviews about veterans. Let’s keep the process going.
The AJMS Veteran’s Day Program will be on Thursday the 8th of November starting at 10am.
To my Brother’s in Arms, Huah. Thank you for all you have done. Thank you Mr Wall, and the 8th grade Students of AJMS.