BY ROSA PRESTON
Ever since the first branch of the military, the Army, was founded in 1775, it has become a big part of people’s lives. People have families that are or were in the military, we have memorials dedicated to the soldiers who died in the military, and we even have a whole day dedicated to retired or departed soldiers, which is well known as Veteran’s Day. And at Truman High School, this day is honored with a ceremony put on by a group of students and their teachers.
The ceremony is put on by the Junior Reserve Officers Training Course, or JROTC for short, which is taught by Nestor Torres. Often people will lump in JROTC with military preparation, but Torres says the course provides much more than that. “We don’t prepare students for the military, but we do help students that want to join the Army. We provide them with some physical training and mentorship to prepare them for what lies ahead.” And students have shown an appreciation for these classes. “It’s not quite like the military, but it has helped me in a few ways to prepare for the Army,” said senior Savanna Pelgrin who is currently taking the course.
Veteran’s Day is an important day for the JROTC Students, as it honors fallen soldiers, retired soldiers, or soldiers that are currently fighting and the sacrifices they’ve made. “I was in the Army for 22 years, and absolutely, being a veteran in the past, absolutely has helped shape my view on Veteran’s Day. I think it’s good to recognize the sacrifices veterans have made in the past,” Sergeant Torres explained. And sometimes, students give speeches, like Pelgrin. “I gave a speech in the 5th grade, and it was basically about veterans in general and thanking them,” she said. Along with all this, the first choir concert every year involves each choir singing “Tribute to the Armed Forces” together. And the choir seems to get warm hearts at this as well.
Veteran’s Day is clearly an important event to many. And you may be wondering: why is Veterans Day so important? Well, as expected, it’s a good way to honor veterans, but sometimes, it allows people to remember or continue to appreciate family and friends that were in the military. “Almost all of the men in my family, including my oldest brother, have been in the army,” Pelgrin said. And she’s not alone. According to the Department of Defense, there are more than 2.7 million active duty military family members.
Veteran’s Day is a pretty special occasion here at Truman and across America. It’s a good time to honor soldiers who died or are currently fighting for our freedom. Even the students take part in honoring the fallen or fighting. As the famous quote says, America is the home of the free, because of the brave.