By Maggie Smith
Veterans Day is a day to honor America’s military service members.
And Carmel Middle School student Danielle Daily said the school’s trip to Washington D.C. during fall break last month intensified her understanding of the sacrifice veterans have made for our country.
As one of the two winners of an essay contest, Danielle Daily earned the honor of laying the wreath at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Our trip to Arlington National Cemetery opened my eyes to the importance of veterans and made me realize how much they have sacrificed for our freedom,” Danielle said.
Entitled “A History of Stone,” Danielle’s essay focused on the symbolism of monuments and why they are important to every American.
“America is full of monuments and memorials, but these tributes are more than just buildings or statues; they are reminders of our history, our struggles and our successes,” began Danielle’s essay.
Later in the essay, Danielle shared why it is important to visit monuments in order to gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifice veterans have made for all of America’s citizens.
“It is important for American citizens to visit tributes to pay their respects to those who have lost their lives to give us the rights that we have. For example, Arlington National Cemetery is a place to pay respects to the men and women that gave their lives so others could live. If Americans did not visit Arlington National Cemetery, they would not remember how many lives have been lost and how much has been sacrificed in order for us to have the freedom that we have…Visiting such places also reminds American citizens of how much it cost to build and sustain a free country such as ours.”
The essay ended with a focus on history and responsibility.
“With such a long history and such brave and amazing people, America needs a way to remember how we became a country. That is why there are so many important tributes all around the country and as American citizens it is our duty to visit those monuments and memorials. With the rights that we have, comes great responsibility and that responsibility is to remember those who have lost their lives and provided for our country in every way possible.”
When asked what Veterans Day means to her, Danielle said, “To me, Veterans Day is a day of remembrance. On Veterans Day, we remember those who died for us and honor the men and women who gave us our freedom.”
The other winner of the essay contest was Zane Williams, Danielle said. Together the two laid a wreath in honor of the service of American heroes they never had the chance to meet.
Area Veterans Day observations
City of Carmel’s Veterans Day Ceremony – Mayor Jim Brainard, Rear Admiral Thomas J. Hill, SC, Retired as keynote speaker, Carmel VFW/American Legion Honor Guard, the Carmel Elementary School Choir and the Actors Theatre of Indiana’s own “Andrews Sisters” will honor veterans at noon Nov. 8 at the Tarkington Theater in the Center for the Performing Arts. The city-wide “What is a Veteran?” poster and essay contest winners will also be recognized. Students will read their winning essays at the ceremony. The event is free, and veterans and the public are invited to attend.
Elementary school program – Carmel Elementary School will host a Veterans Day program at 9 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. Nov. 12. The fourth-grade students and the school’s choir will present musical tributes in addition to patriotic readings by the student council. The choir will sing an original composition entitled “Honor,” written especially for the occasion. Finalists for the annual Veterans Day essay contest will read their essays. Both veterans and the community are invited to attend, and a special gift will be presented to each member of the armed forces. A short reception is planned for after both programs.
Westfield American Legion – The Westfield American Legion Post 318 will conduct Veterans Day programs at 10 a.m. Nov. 11 in the Sanders Glenn living center and at 2:30 p.m. in Maple Park Village. Visitors are invited to attend.
Making a journey – Coram Deo Academy, a Christian school that meets at Carmel Friends Church, will take its 77 students, 15 staff members and a host of parents and grandparents to make a journey to the War Memorial in Indianapolis to take part in our state’s largest ceremony remembering the service of our veterans. For more information call 844-4224.
Heroes from the Heartland – Local World War II veterans will speak about their experiences in war from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis. Come and listen to the incredible stories they share of their time in the service. You have read the books and seen the movies about these great men. This is your chance to come and meet them in person and hear first hand what is was like to be part of the greatest military force in history. For more information call 483-4151 or visit www.indyhonorflight.org/
Free meal for veterans – Applebee’s will once again thank our nation’s veterans and active duty military by offering them a free Thank You Meal. Applebee’s expects to serve more than 1 million free meals from its special Veterans Day menu of seven signature entrees like the 7 oz. House Sirloin. Applebee’s is also encouraging people to show their gratitude by leaving a message for current and former military members at ThankYouMovement.com. Visitors to the Thank You Movement website will be directed to their local Applebee’s Facebook page, where personal Thank You messages will be tallied by neighborhood and tracked in real time on the Thank You Movement website.