The Importance of Veterans Day


Emma Whitehouse

Three elder veterans from the assembly stand to be recognized for their branch of military. Veterans ranging in all ages were recognized during the ceremony. Marillia said, “Realizing that during the Vietnam War, the guys who we’re in the trenches we’re not coming back home. That was hard.”

Morgan Harbolt, Executive Editor

World War I ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Veterans Day originated from the end of WWI.

Most people know someone who is a veteran. But those people might still not know their veteran’s story. A veteran’s story is worth being heard.

The Veterans Day assembly was held Monday, Nov. 11. The safety team and law enforcement teacher/safety team sponsor Carolyn Nunn organized the assembly. The school resource officer, Bill Whillhoite, gave this year’s speech. He served in the Kentucky Army National Guard as a first sergeant. He encouraged students to dive deep and get a real feel for what Veterans Day is about. Many veterans came to be honored during the ceremony. Here are the stories of just two of those veterans.

Stephen Thomas Marillia is the grandfather of sophomore Hunter Thompson and senior Jolie Thompson. Marillia came to the Veterans Day assembly. Marillia served in the air force during the Vietnam War. Marillia was drafted into the military in 1967. He was very interested in the space program and so he thought the airforce was the best place for him. Not many people got to choose what branch they went into, so he was happy to get that choice.

Veterans Day is something that a lot of people don’t realize the importance of. It’s very easy to sit back and just zone out during the assembly. This day has so much more meaning behind it to these veterans though. Marillia said, “This day is very special to me, because my father was a veteran, my grandfather was a veteran. They served in World War II and World War I.”

Serving in the military was more than just a job that had to be done to Marillia. He made memories that will always have a place in his heart. Marillia said the people he met in the military are some of his fondest memories. There were times when it was really hard for Marillia. He said, “I had a great time and to sit here and say that there wasn’t any bad parts, sure there were bad parts. I mean when you’re in the backseat of an airplane and you’ve got a hung bomb and you don’t know whether or not you’re going to be able to land without blowing that bomb up thats right underneath you. It was hard.”

Ricardo Luis Perez is the father of junior Ricky Perez Jr. He also came to the assembly. Perez joined the U.S. Army right out of highschool. He always knew he would go into the military. In highschool Perez was in ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and he was on the drill team. He was stationed in Germany in 1989. While Perez did not serve in any wars himself, some of his roommates did. Perez said, “I got to give a big salute to a lot of people, roommates, friends of mine, that did go to war. I think if you ask anybody, I don’t think anybody wishes to ever be a part of a war. I just have to give a huge salute to every veteran that has fought in a war so that we can have our freedoms right now, for you, for my son. They can have their freedoms every single day and I give thanks every day for that.”

The impact that the people who served made on our country is so important. Perez said, “We had a lot of veterans show up today that were apart of the big wars. Every single day, right now, we have many freedoms that we should never take for granted. Right now it is truly the land of opportunities, we have so many opportunities. And I really think that we wouldn’t even have these opportunities if so many of our service members didn’t sacrifice their lives, their time, and not only them, their families, their wives, their children.”

A lot of this generation has lost touch with days like Veterans Day. We are so caught up in our our lives and social media that we don’t get to know the veterans who are right here. Our grandpas, dads, uncles, mothers, aunts or not even a family member, maybe it’s just someone you know. I encourage you to go talk to them, thank them for their service and learn their story. You will then realize how happy it makes them to talk about their time serving and to feel appreciated. It will mean a lot to that veteran, but it will leave an even bigger impact on you.