Believes Veterans Day observance should remain on school calendar

To the Editor:

I have recently learned that a member of the Fairfield Board of Education, Jennifer Kennelly, stated on Nov. 27 that she wished to raise the issue of removing Veterans Day from the Fairfield School calendar as an observed holiday on Dec. 11 (the next BOE meeting). This battle was fought once before in 2005-2007 and the holiday returned after that hiatus. I also know there are members of the Fairfield Board of Education who oppose this motion.

Veterans Day, a Federal holiday, originally “Armistice Day,” has been observed on the 11th day of November since 1922 and by Congressional Act since 1936. The 11th of November marked the end of World War I and has since continued as a day to honor “all veterans.”

Unlike many holidays, which were “adjusted” to accommodate three day weekends in 1968, veterans and the American public resisted the urge to make this a holiday of convenience. That Veterans Day is observed on the Nov. 11, and no other day, was confirmed as inviolate in 1975. I sincerely hope that the fact that Veterans Day is not linked to a three day weekend is not the reason it has been discarded from Fairfield’s list of holiday observances.

As a former scout leader whose unit has attended Veterans’ observances rigorously for the past decade, I am extremely disappointed. This was always a prime opportunity for young men and women to interact with veterans to outside of an educational institution. This was furthermore an opportunity for veterans to be recognized by, and share time, with their relatives. Admittedly, some school children will use the day off for other reasons, but at least the holiday prompts them to ask the question “what’s Veterans Day and what makes it so important?”

The proponents of using Veterans Day as a school day say, “oh we’ll use that day to educate students about Veterans Day.” Well, why can’t they use Nov. 10  to do that? Right now in Fairfield there are occasional school Veterans Day observances, but they are the exception. One Fairfield school I know of expends energy to the extent of a single sentence read over the public address system the day before Veterans Day. The whole “we can make Veterans Day better by making it a school day” argument lacks credibility.

As a veteran who has drawn combat pay in two conflicts I am appalled.

How can a member of the Fairfield Board of Education have the insensitivity to throw this in veterans’ faces? We are presently at war and Fairfielders are pulling their weight. There is a steady stream of veterans returning to Fairfield from Afghanistan, Iraq and other hot spots. Is this the Fairfield Educational system’s judgment that veterans are not sufficiently important to honor for a full day?

What were they thinking? Where are their priorities? I say once again, I am appalled.

Don’t rob that veteran father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, the opportunity to relate to their family members about their experience on their day. I ask veterans and friends of veterans to attend the Fairfield Board of Education meeting on Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m., at the BOE’s offices at 501 Kings Highway East in Fairfield the to speak against this motion.

 

Roger Lee Crossland

CAPT USN (Ret.)

Republic of Vietnam ‘71

Northern Arabian Gulf ‘02

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ‘02

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