EDITORIAL: Teaching kids about those who served

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The vast majority of kids in school today were born after 9/11. Those school children who were alive when terrorists attacked America in September 2001 were babies or toddlers at the time — too young to remember the horror of that day, and the resilience which followed and the patriotism it spawned in the United States.

The War on Terror started soon after the 9/11 attacks, and for most K-12 students today, that war has spanned their lifetimes.

While youth may be used to hearing about conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan on the news, the battles fought in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Germany and other places around the globe are found in history books.

But the brave men and women who served in those wars — as well as other past and current conflicts — live in this community. This week, local students will get to learn about those veterans and their service firsthand.

Each year, Powell High School hosts a special ceremony for Veterans Day; Powell Middle School also started a program for veterans in recent years. The programs help teach kids about the significance of the Nov. 11 holiday, while also honoring local veterans who have served and sacrificed for our country.

Student musicians learn patriotic music for the special day, filling the room with the familiar songs that stir pride and emotion.

In the school auditorium or gym where proud parents and grandparents typically cheer for kids’ accomplishments, the roles are reversed on Veterans Day. As veterans stand, youth clap and cheer — a simple but powerful way to thank local veterans for their service.

This year, the schools’ Veterans Day programs will be held on Thursday, a couple of days before the Nov. 11 holiday, since it falls on a Saturday. (See the story on Page 1 for more details.) We encourage local veterans to attend.

Not only is it important to recognize and honor those who served, the programs teach youth valuable lessons about Veterans Day. It’s one thing to hear about a foreign war on the news or in the classroom, but quite another to see someone who fought in those battles and shake their hand.

As a country, we often fall short in honoring those who have served or truly recognizing their sacrifices.

While we can’t do enough to say thank you, these local programs help ensure veterans know they are appreciated — and that their legacies and lessons carry on to the next generation.

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