Veteran’s Day is more than just a day off

Photo+by+Max+Potter

Photo by Max Potter

Sara Creato and Jackson Wojnowski

Many Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) students took the opportunity this past Veteran’s Day to connect with relatives who are veterans or on active duty.

Senior Kate Howell, whose grandfather served in the Navy during World War II and whose father was in the Army for 15 years, spent the day getting lunch and going on a long walk with her father. “I see it as a day of remembrance for all the soldiers that passed and to show respect for everyone that served,” she said. “It is important to have the day off to spend with my dad and call my grandfather when I can.”

Senior Rachel Salop, whose grandfathers served in the Navy and Army, also sees the significance of Veteran’s Day. “I think it’s a really important day and not just a day off from school,” she said. “It commemorates the sacrifice that people have made to protect their country, and that should be celebrated because I feel like these veterans deserve to have a day [to honor] them, if not a year. I remember when I was little, my grandpa and I would go get donuts every Veteran’s Day to celebrate his accomplishments.” 

Junior Ingrid Moore Apart took the time to call her grandfather, a Vietnam War Navy vet, and also used the day off to bake, hike, and catch up on homework. She highlighted the dissociation students often feel when they have not had a relative serve in the military or any personal experience with military involvement. 

“I think there’s a pretty clear divide [in terms of appreciating the holiday] between people who have had family in the military and people who haven’t,” said Rachel. 

As expected, COVID-19 is also affecting the scope of Veteran’s Day celebrations this year. Senior Hunter Meader, whose father was a staff sergeant in the Marine Corp and served for the first eight years of Hunter’s life, noted that he was not able to participate in Veteran’s Day events due to restrictions relating to the virus. 

Some students, like sophomore Dyana Burke, spoke of how they didn’t have any immediate family with military connections but still found ways to celebrate the holiday. “I spent Vets Day talking to one of my friends about their relative who was in WWII and is actually still alive,” she said. 

Despite the anxiety surrounding COVID-19, the election, and online schooling, Veteran’s Day was not entirely overshadowed, and it’s clear many students still have a solid understanding of and connection to the holiday.

“Veteran’s Day is a day to thank the ones who were willing to risk it all for the ones they know and love, and even the ones that they don’t know in the world,” said Hunter.