Veterans Day: A Day of Remembrance

Liberty welcomes veterans for an assembly to celebrate and recognize them for their service


Nicki Bruns

Roughly 35 veterans came to the Veterans Day assembly. Each one was recognized for their service with a certificate handed out by Dr. Nelson. Here, Robert Beager receives his certificate.

Emma Carter and Grayce Page

Anumitha Vaka, Reporter

Nov. 11 has a special place in many Americans hearts. Veterans Day is a national holiday that celebrates and recognizes our current, past, and deceased members of our military. It is a day that is very special to Dr. Ed Nelson and Liberty as a whole. 

To celebrate, Liberty came together to recognize our veterans at a school assembly last Friday. A lot of people came together to make the assembly work. Dr. Nelson, Dr. Kiely, and other administrators set up the assembly, made certificates, and got veterans to come. Key Club cabinet members helped by greeting and talking with the veterans including Key Club president, Fiona Do, who helped Dr. Nelson to hand out certificates. NHS decorated the school and made a poster with photos of honored Liberty veterans. Mrs. Pizzo’s Culinary III class also made an assortment of cookies and fruit cups for the veterans to enjoy.  Liberty’s choir members sang the national anthem and two trumpet members from band played “Taps.”

Rick Dinnella, who was one of the veterans who came to the assembly, placed a bunch of flags all around the school Friday morning by himself. All of their hard work made the assembly possible and allowed Liberty to recognize our veterans.

“It’s a great honor to be able to serve and it’s a greater honor for the youth of America to realize what we did was important,” Rick Dinnella said, who is an Army veteran. 

Roughly 35 veterans showed up for the assembly and were given certificates in recognition of their service. All of the veterans were tied to Liberty in some way, whether they were related to a student, teacher, or staff member. There were veterans from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and National Guard. 

Many of the veterans there expressed their gratitude for the ceremony. They all served our country and each veteran had their own treasure trove of stories to tell. Dinnela also expressed his appreciation for the students and staff coming together to celebrate Veterans Day. Dinnella served in the U.S. Army for 20 years. When asked why he joined the military Dinnella stated, “I think it was my duty.” Dinnella also talked about some of the things he has done in service. “I was a military policeman. I’ve done silly things like guard the Dallas cheerleaders. I’ve also helped guard the president of South Korea and other dignitaries throughout my 20 years,” Dinnella explained. 

Photo of Rick Dinnella while serving in the U.S. Army. (provided by Rick Dinnella)

Another one of the veterans there was Judith Richardson, who served in the U.S. Air Force for four years in 1966. She worked for an orthodontist at Lackland Air Force (Texas) base at a dental clinic. She also married an Air Force soldier who went to Vietnam. She expressed her feelings on coming to the assembly and being recognized by students and staff. “I think that it’s an awesome thing that the schools do. They’ve done it at other schools before. You may or may not know but during Vietnam a lot of people were not welcomed home, not at all. So this is cool.” When asked why she joined the Air Force initially, she explained how her father and cousins were also in service at the time. “It was Christmas time and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I went by the post office and I saw a sign for women in the Air Force. I went in and talked to a recruiter and my mother did not want me to go in but my father signed the papers and said ‘Here, I’ve just handed you your wings. Go fly.’ He thought it would be a great honor for him and the family and I never regretted it and I’d do it all over again,” Richardson told.

Jaclyn Sweaney was also a U.S. Air Force veteran who attended the assembly last Friday. She served for 20 years and while in service worked on fixing jet airplanes. When asked about her experience of the assembly she expressed that she really enjoyed and appreciated it. “I look around at the other veterans and I know I’m in great company and that’s what really moves me is the people that are here with me. I mean to look at those who came before me and hopefully I’m looking at those who come after me in this crowd,” Sweaney expressed.

Photo of Jaclyn Sweaney while serving in the U.S. Air Force. (provided by Jaclyn Sweaney)

The assembly wasn’t just a nice experience for the veterans but for students and staff as well. “I think it was good. It was very nice to support people who fought for our country,” sophomore Lannah Montgomery expressed. Mr. McFadden also expressed his feelings about the assembly saying, “I think that the Veterans Day stuff is great. I’m glad that we take the time out of our day to celebrate. Veterans Day is really important. Those people sacrificed a lot to give us our freedom. So it’s good to get all of the students down there and staff down there and just show our appreciation.”

Veterans Day is also very important to Dr. Nelson being a United States Army veteran himself, serving for four years active duty and 5-6 years as a reserve. He was on the M1A1 tank and was a United States Army drill sergeant. Dr. Nelson talked about the significance and the purpose of the assembly. “It’s good, it’s a fun time to honor them and the idea is to honor them and then maybe teach students. The whole point of this is that my generation, the older people, are going to die off and, then you guys are left, and so we hope to pass on some of these traditions that we have of honoring the country, honoring the flag, honoring veterans, honoring firefighters, you know all of those people who serve. So we want to pass that on to the next generation.”

It is important to remember the people who came before us, the veterans who served our country to ensure our freedom today. There are roughly 19 million veterans in the U.S. today and roughly over 1.3 million active duty soldiers in the U.S. military. These were and are the brave men and women we must celebrate and recognize not just on Veterans Day but everyday. They have sacrificed for our present and continue to sacrifice for our future. “I think it’s important to the younger generation that they can possibly understand what it’s like to have your freedom and have someone that’s willing to go out and fight for it,” Richard Anselm, U.S. Army veteran said.