Rockland middle school students honor veterans

Nov 11, 2012
Photo by: Bane Okholm Iwo Jima veteran Roy Peasley of Rockland salutes during a Veterans Day student assembly Nov. 9 at Rockland District Middle School.

Rockland — Wesley Dunkle, 11, of Rockland is a sixth grade student at Rockland District Middle School. He wrote the following essay about Veterans Day for school and read it during an assembly Friday, Nov. 9, in which area veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recent wars and peacetime were invited from the community to attend and be honored.

Why should we honor our veterans on Veterans Day? We should honor them for many reasons. There is their bravery, their kindness and their sacrifices.

These men and women are very brave to go and fight all around the world. They have to leave their families for long periods of time. Some soldiers even miss their child being born. They go into huge battles and are most likely to get injured or die. They also watch their friends get killed. Once they are out of the war, it takes a long time for them to get better.

Three of my great-grandfathers were in World War II. Two of them were in the Philippines, one worked with communications and one was a medic. The other was supposed to be in the first wave at D-Day. He could not go because he hurt his leg in training.

World War I really ended June 28, 1919, but the fighting stopped months earlier. It stopped on the eleventh day of the eleventh month on the eleventh hour, Nov. 11, 1918. That's why it is called the "war to end all wars." A year later the president named it Armistice Day. It wasn't a legal holiday until 1938. It was changed to Veterans Day after World War II.

This country will always need our soldiers because they fight for us and die for us. It's an important day to honor our veterans. It's interesting to think if any of my great-grandfathers died, I wouldn't be here today.

Josh Peaco, 12, of Rockland, a seventh-grade student at Rockland District Middle School wrote the following essay about the significance of Nov. 11.

Nov. 11 is a very significant date in American history. Today we celebrate it as Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a holiday to celebrate and remember all of the people who have served, who have died while serving, and who are now serving their country. We honor our veterans on Nov. 11 because The Armistice was signed by the Germans in 1918 on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This signified the end of World War I.

Veterans Day was originally named Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson. Armistice Day was also known as Remembrance Day. When he proclaimed the holiday he said, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." He did not however make it an official holiday. The first Armistice Day was Nov. 11, 1919.

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, asking President Calvin Coolidge to observe Armistice Day as a legal holiday. An act of Congress on May 13, 1938, made Nov. 11 a legal holiday. Later, in 1945, a WWII veteran named Raymond Weeks wanted to expand the holiday of Armistice Day to commemorate all veterans, not just veterans from World War I, as a day for all veterans. Raymond Weeks led a delegation to General Dwight Eisenhower, who was very supportive of the idea of having a National Veterans Day. The first official celebration of Veterans Day was in 1947. Weeks was later declared as "The Father of Veterans Day."

Veterans day, to me, is very important because my grandfather was in the Navy for eight years. He served from 1952 through 1960. My grandfather was very proud of his time in the Navy. He is always telling me stories about "the good old days" as he calls it. He was on a big Navy ship for most of his service time. He has been all over the world. He's been to many countries in Africa, Europe, and all over America. One time he told me a story about getting on a plane to fly home from Africa. It was almost 100 degrees when he got on, and when he got off the plane in America it was snowing.

I think Veterans Day is a very important holiday because it is a day to honor all of America's great veterans. Its date, Nov. 11, is a memorable date because it is in remembrance of the day that the Armistice was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This was the ending of World War I. Veterans deserve a special day of remembrance and honor as a national thank you from our country for defending our freedom. Thank you veterans for your bravery that made our country what it is today.

Seventh-grade Rockland District Middle School student Mabel Monroe, 12, of South Thomaston wrote the following essay about The Unknown Soldier:

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in Washington D.C. It is constantly protected by a guard who has to be very alert and has to pass certain requirements. The tomb was built in 1921 and has been an important figure ever since. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a national landmark for all veterans in the nation. It represents the courage of all the soldiers who have ever served in the U.S. military.

The job of being the guard of the tomb is taken very seriously. The guard must be between 5-foot-8-inches and 6-foot-2-inches and must have a waist that is 30 inches or smaller. The tomb is protected 24 hours a day and 365 days a year no matter if it is snowing, raining or storming. They change guards every 30 minutes. To be a guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a great honor.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a symbol in the U.S. military. It shows that we Americans honor those who serve in our military no matter who they are. It represents how much we worship those who have risked their lives for us. Nobody even knows the soldiers inside yet our country protects it with their lives. It is a powerful monument for the people of the USA.

The tomb of the Unknown Soldier has more than one solider in it. There is a soldier from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. There was a Vietnam War soldier in the tomb once, but the identity was confirmed and the body was taken from the tomb. The other bodies were never confirmed and are still in the tomb. They will probably stay in the tomb forever.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has a lot of power. It is one of the things that keeps the U.S. military together. It lets all soldiers know that they will be honored. It shows how much our military means to this country. It represents all of the honor, loyalty and faith we have in our military. The tomb lets us say thanks to all the veterans out there who have served our country. Those who have left their families and risked their lives for the good of this nation. They are what keeps this country together, what keeps it united. They are the very heart of this society and we owe them everything we have. Thank you veterans, thank you for everything.

Wesley Dunkle, 11, of Rockland reads his essay. Other students also read essays, played patriotic songs and band songs in honor of Veterans Day Nov. 9 at Rockland District Middle School. With him is Principal Kathy Hollicker. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Comments (4)
Posted by: Debra Damon | Nov 12, 2012 11:39

What a great Essay for a young man to write.

Posted by: Carleton C Ingerson | Nov 11, 2012 18:29

Thank you Wesley. You did an excellent job writing that essay. I am very proud of you as I am sure everyone else who reads it will be. I am a Viet Nam veteran . Thank you again.

Posted by: tammie michaud | Nov 11, 2012 17:17

well done

Posted by: William Pease | Nov 11, 2012 14:46

Well done, Wesley Dunkle. You have written a fine tribute to your great-grandfathers who were veterans and to all veterans everywhere.  They would be very proud of you, just as I am, also a veteran who was born and raised in Rockland. Well done, indeed.

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