Pictured left to right Larry Gerlack, WWII veteran; Murray Edelstein, WWII veteran; Brigadier Gen. Jonathan Farnham, vice director of the Joint Staff of the Army National Guard, SB Veterans Committee Chairman Jay Zaetz; and Rep. Helen Head, chair of Vermont’s General Housing and Military Affairs Committee.

Veterans Honored at SBHS

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Friday November 16, 2012

They dedicated their lives for the betterment of their nation. They endured drill after drill, day after day to perfect their skills. They sacrificed time with family and missed monumental events to serve and protect an entity bigger than themselves. They are your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your coworkers. They are veterans of the United States of America.

How does one thank veterans for their selfless, patriotic duties?

South Burlington High School thanked them with an annual Veterans Day assembly on Monday,  Nov. 12 assembly held in the gymnasium. SBHS Principal Patrick Burke thanked them by giving historical context to the day.

Veterans Day was originally founded as Armistice Day recognizing that Nov. 11, 1918 marked the end of World War I. It was later amended to Veterans Day, commemorating all who have served.

He also thanked them by recognizing veterans present in the gym including their own school district employees. 
Rep. Helen Head, chair of Vermont’s General Housing and Military Affairs Committee, thanked them for their tremendous work after the tragedy of last year’s Tropical Storm Irene. It was the Vermont National Guard’s “finest hour,” according to Adjutant Gen. Michael Dubie. 

“They’ve been heroes in one of Vermont’s darkest hours,” she said.

Her way of giving back took place at the legislative level where they have worked to make changes to our laws regarding the guard such as improving housing benefits, disciplinary procedures, employment rights, and healthcare insurance.SBHS Senior Brittany Langervin thanked veterans by sharing her personal experience with having a father as a veteran.

“When I look at my life and how much we have been through when moving from place to place and always having to pick up and start over, it may seem tedious at times--and I may hate every second of it--but I am very proud of my father. He gives up so much of his time he could be spending with us,” she said.  “I honor my father in one way: by being the best strongest and happiest I can be in my life.”

Brigadier Gen. Jonathan Farnham, vice director of the Joint Staff of the Army National Guard thanked fellow veterans for who they are--and who they are not.

“Those who serve, serve our nationand our ideals, not a specific political agenda or philosophy,” he said. Gen. Farnham thanked veterans--both living and deceased, by asking the audience to engage in an act of unity.

“Silence does not come easy in America, and that is why such a small gesture can hold such meaning,” Brigadier General Jonathan Farnham said before the room filled of memories and gratitude. He asked veterans to stand and be recognized. A thunder of applause ensued. 

“Because of our veterans, our country still stands,” Gen. Farnham said.

The Veterans Memorial at Dorset Park, set to be completed for next year, will become a new setting for Veterans Day assemblies in the future, Burke said.

How can you personally give thanks? Take Langervin’s advice: volunteer at your local Veterans of Foreign War (VSW) or tell veterans in person “thank you for your service.”

District employees who have served their country:

Ed Darling, US Army

Caryl Davidson, US Army

Stan Sankowski, US Navy

Tom Kessler, US Navy

Dom Marrabella, US Air Force

Jerry Normandin, US Air Force

Barry Carris, US Navy

Annie Davis, US Army

Steve Barner, US Army

Deb Bennett, US Navy

Superintendent of Schools is Dave Young, US Army


SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent