For 16 years, North Colonie has upheld a tradition honoring veterans through its annual Veterans Day Celebration. The event has continued to build for more than a decade and a half, surrounding one theme: service to one’s country.
“The notion of service to one’s country should be integral to the fabric of our nation,” said Superintendent Corr in his opening remarks at the celebration.
“It should be our fundamental belief that we need to be part of a larger community bigger than ourselves,” he said.
This year’s guest speaker, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and author Phil Klay, stuck to that theme. He spoke of two friends who served with him in the Marine Corps, both of whom were influential to him.
The two men lost their lives serving their country; one seen as hero, the other seen a casualty of war. However, Klay did not differentiate their level of valor. In stead he celebrated a soldier’s choice to continue on after facing a level of hardship a civilian could never understand.
“When I think of heroism, I first think of the quiet decision of a 20-year-old marine to go back to war after losing a friend,” said Klay.
“These men knew what it is like to lose a friend and then have to go out the next day and the next and the next and patrol and do your mission, when all you want to do is grieve,” he said. “With just the desire to help out the marines they served with pushing them forward, even at the risk of their own lives.”
Shaker High School senior, Eric Assini, says Klay’s presence in the district for the Veterans Day Celebration resonated with a lot of students. However, Assini says it’s tough to identify with a hero as a 17-year-old. Even with their experiences being presented in plain English, it is still hard for many to comprehend their sacrifices.
“How can anyone, let alone a kid, put into words the astronomical respect we have for these men and women,” said Assini when presenting a students’ perspective.
“As civilians we can empathize with you, we can thank you and express how grateful we are until we are blue in the face,” he said. “But there aren’t enough words in the English language to express the thanks civilians owe all of you brave men and women.”
“Thank you, Veterans,” Assini continued. “Thank you for running towards what most run away from. Thank you for being the barrier between us and danger. And thank you for being America’s un-sung heroes.”
Category: District News