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Veterans Day Chapel

November 11, 2016
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

I cried today. It probably happened at least three times, but who’s counting. Today was our annual Veterans Day Chapel and there were several times that I was so proud that my eyes welled up with tears. I was proud to be an American today and be able to honor those veterans that fought for the freedom we so richly enjoy. I was proud to be a part of a school that teaches these truths to our students. I was also proud of all of the students that were involved and the fantastic job that they did. The National Honor Society did a great job of organizing an incredibly honoring program. They have been doing this for a number of years and each year I am impressed with the message brought and the depth of teaching. The High School and Elementary choirs were phenomenal in their performances. The Regiment formed a color guard to present the colors for the very first time and executed it flawlessly.

I would like to say a special thank you to Mrs. Machelle’ Stevens, our National Honor Society sponsor. Each year she organizes our students into a well-oiled machine and they do a fabulous job. I would also like to wish her a Happy Birthday. Her birthday happens to be on Veterans Day so she always has this big responsibility on a day that is supposed to be fun. Thank you, Machelle”.

At Indian Rocks Christian School, one of the core values that we try to instill in our students is patriotism. It is important that our students understand the history of our country, how we got to where we are, and develop an appreciation for those who have sacrificed through their service to gain us these freedoms. Today’s chapel is a perfect example of how we try to do this.

November 11 is a national holiday each year that has been set aside to honor the bravery and sacrifice of those who have served our country in one of the military branches. Military.com says that many people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day and most don’t know the significance of its date and history. While they both celebrate patriotism, service, and sacrifice, their focal point is a bit different.

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans (after all, it was the “war to end all wars”). In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, Congress amended the wording of the act changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In 1968, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October as a “floating” national holiday, similar to Presidents’ Day. In 1978 it was moved back to its original November 11th date.

Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day (such as Cpl. Frank Gross and SSGT Matt Sitton who are IRCS alums that gave their lives in duty) but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime. An example of this would be our Bible department chair, Bob Pacecca. Bob served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army before coming to Indian Rocks. We appreciate his service.