The most memorable Veterans Day of my life came when I was teaching 4th grade. There is a large military base in our city, and I was accustomed to having students in my class with parents in the service. It was common to see dads in uniform picking up kids at our school. A few moms in uniform, too. I never minded getting to school really early to accommodate busy parents during conference weeks, especially my military families. It was a chance to say thanks to a veteran face to face.
One such family had a special place in my heart. I only had 2 of
the 3 sons in my classes, but the year I remember had Dad (Steve) being deployed to Afghanistan just about Veteran's Day. He asked if he could do something special for his youngest boy, Aaron, before he left. He also wanted it to be a surprise. I agreed, of course, and he asked us to be ready and standing inside the playground fence about 2:00 pm one school day afternoon.
We waited and the kids were starting to get a bit antsy when we finally heard a really noisy rumble that steadily grew louder. Soon we saw the first of a convoy of huge military vehicles that came around a corner and turned into the back driveway bus exit of the school. There were 3 really large ones being led by a desert jeep. The kids were so excited and the look on Aaron's face was
amazing! Once they were parked, about 6 or 7 soldiers got out and started helping the kids climb up in the vehicles. (I wish I could tell you what types of vehicles they were, but I don't know the names.) Even their teacher got to sit in the driver's seat of something big and armored!
Aaron was the proudest little boy I have ever seen. That year we dedicated one bulletin board just to Dad's unit. We wrote to the soldiers often, and they wrote back. They even sent us a banner that had all the kids' names woven into the fabric. We talked a lot that year about thanking a veteran and what it takes to keep us free and safe. When you remember to thank a veteran, remember to thank his family, too. They serve their country in a way that the rest of us seldom think of.