There is a sense of pride and respect felt when saying the Pledge of Allegiance surrounded by military veterans. Lower School students experienced this on Monday as they participated in a special program honoring those who served. The tone of the program was set when members of the Upper School Select Choir sang the Star Spangled banner. After saying the pledge and the Episcopal Honor Code, Head of School Hugh McIntosh spoke to students about what a veteran looks like. For many of the students, a veteran looks like their grandfather, father or family member. In Episcopal’s case, a veteran also looks like McIntosh, who was an officer in the United States Navy and served in Vietnam.
Middle and Upper School students were also reminded of what it means to be a veteran. Students in Clara Howell’s European History: Europe at War class have spent a semester learning about World War I. After studying the Great War and its impact on the world, the students felt compelled to observe the 100th anniversary of the conflict’s end. Students banded together to handcraft 500 poppy pins to distribute to their fellow classmates and Episcopal faculty and staff as a reminder of the lives lost. “Learning about the poppies and the affect they have around the world is something that truly humbled me, it made me realize how deadly this war was, and the ultimate sacrifice that many people gave to better our world,” says Thomas Besselman. Fellow classmate Mary Francis Sadler agrees. “Making these poppies with my classmates has taught me that a small, simple flower can mean so much to so many people.”
The students presented information on World War I and read the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae during Upper School Chapel. “Sharing the remembrance of World War One with multiple levels of school brings us together to appreciate not only American veterans but veterans from all over the world,” says Anna Scot Hixon. After sharing the message, students distributed the poppies as a visual reminder for their classmates.
Episcopal alumni also marked Veterans Day. Alumnus Daniel Rieger, ’15 attended a truly historic Armistice Day ceremony in Paris. Rieger is a West Point cadet who is currently attending L’École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French national military academy, as part of his training. Episcopal French teacher Julien Prevost says Rieger became passionate about the French language and culture when he participated in the Episcopal French exchange program his sophomore year. Now as a cadet, Rieger has the opportunity to continue exploring French culture. During the Armistice Day ceremony, he was even featured on French television discussing the experience. Click here to watch Rieger.
Members of the military dedicate themselves to a life of service to country and to others. We are proud of the Episcopal families, alumni and staff who have taken up that oath. We thank you for your service.
Happy Veterans Day.
Thank you for your service.