Monday, November 15, 2010

Why It Matters- Veterans Day

Lots of students say, "YAY, another day off!!", but I wish they would do something that acknowledges the accomplishments and sacrifices of the strong, brave men and women who gave their lives for an ideology, and a way of life. Very often we read the poetry of men and women from the Renaissance, and realize that although the words have modernized, the messages and themes of loss linger. Just as Ben Jonson's epigram to his son, 'On My First Son,' writes in the 16th century, that .."here lies my best piece of poetry...", many parents today lament losing their children in wars. Find an example of their poetry in the website below, examine how it moves you to think and feel. Reflect on loss, and how we honor our dead today.


  1. It is definitely true that students including myself take school holidays for granted. Instead of celebrating important people and events in history, we focus on the fact that we can sleep in the following day or how inconvenient it is that it falls on a Thursday, for example. While it is important to enjoy our days off from school and work, we should also take time to recognize the true meaning for the holiday and why it is significant.
    November 11, better known as Veterans day, is an important day in history when the Armistice was signed which marked the end of World War I. This became Armistice day just a few years after the war ended, but was later changed to Veterans day to honor all war veterans.
    People throughout history have influenced our ways of life today. One major example of this was the Renaissance. During this time, people began to branch out of the norm and began to express themselves more through art and literature. Since the Renaissance was only a couple hundred years after the bubonic plague, death and loss was still a common theme among poets and writers. I'm sure that parents and family members of veterans who lost their lives protecting their country share grief similar to the poets and artists during the Renaissance.

  2. The majority of students don't take the holidays or days off school to honor the holiday or those who made the holiday possible. They all just take it for granted and use it as if it were just any other weekend and go hang out with their friends or what ever they do with their free time. For instance on Veterans Day on November 11, very few if any students use the day to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers and veterans of our country. The death of soldiers and war isn't as big of a theme in poetry, songs or other literature/art forms like it once was in the 16th century. Today soldiers and lost ones are remembered through tombs and memorial statues. For Veterans Day there are also ceremonies for the lost soldiers around the Tombs of Unknowns according to

  3. Many students take the actual important days as just another "day off" from school but, never realize the importance of it. November 11, a very important day, only very few students recognize the importance of this day. Back in the Renaissance times, death of soldiers and war was usually not that recognized but now, everything has changed, they are remembered and honored.

  4. Many people take holidays like this for granted unless you have someone close to yo affected b the war or is a veteran. The people that aren't affected, need to put in consideration of the soldiers that lost there lives for their country. When parents lose their children in war, a part of them also dies. They feel an unbearable sadness. Like in the Arlington National Cemetery, when there are they write on the tomb "HERE RESTS IN
    This shows the sadness they feel on how they pay homage to the fallen soldiers.
    Read more: Arlington National Cemetery —

  5. Many people do honor Veterans Day correctly, but mainly only those who have been affected by loss. Some people take the day off for granted and only think about the benefits it gives them instead of taking into consideration what the day really means. As a way to release emotions, many parents and family members write poetry about their experience in loss and they are typically very moving. For example, Pablo Neruda wrote a poem called "Nothing but Death" about his feelings on loss. In the poem he compares death to things that have something missing, making them incomplete. He then explains how even though these things may me incomplete, they still have a big impact, "nevertheless, its steps can be heard". He thinks that the feeling of loss overpowers most other feelings and can be "heard" among all other sounds. I agree with his point and I think that no matter how many things are going on around you and how many things can be distracting, death is superior, and it's feeling is like no other.

  6. In "Dulce Et Decorum Est" written by Wilfred Owen, a profoundly bleak, pessimistic opinion is expressed of nationalism, and warfare in general. Owen recounts his experiences with mustard gas in the trenches of the Western Front. He writes of observing a fellow soldier succumb to the gas, his mouth frothing and lungs filling with blood, slowly and painfully drowning.

    The poem is dark and gruesome, and undoubtedly reflects a grim reality -- that dying for one's country is not nearly as glorious as it might seem. Owen is of the opinion that nationalism is wasted passion, having personally witnessed such fruitless emotion on the battlefield. I'm inclined to agree with Owen, lives are worth more than this; sputtering and gasping for breath whilst buried under feet of mud and body parts. And the governments of the world no doubt fail to recognize the value of these lives, instead focusing on the political, economic, and geographical potential of war. But such is the end result of blind patriotism.

    Certainly, if our troops were to understand the grim realities of warfare, their eagerness and spirit would surely be dimmed.

  7. In Emily Dickinson's poem "A Train Went Through A Burial Gate" She talks about everyone at the funeral for the dead soldiers.
    "A bird broke forth and sang,
    And trilled, and quivered, and shook his throat
    Till all the churchyard rang;"
    Everyone at the funeral began to cry and mourn the death of the men.
    "And bowed and began to sing again.
    Doubtless, he thought it meet of him
    To say good-by to men."
    They continued to say there final words before they bury them.
    Today, we have Veteran's Day Holiday, a day we take off from school and work to thank the veterans that died for our country. There are also ceremonies held.

  8. Veterans Day is a day that honors the U.S soldiers for what they did in WWI, WWII and cold war in vitamin. Mostly Veterans day come from WWII because thats when lots of soldiers dead for their country.
    In WWII U.S had 16,112,566 man in war and 291,557 battles death, More than half a million wounded. Thats one of the biggest battle or war the U.S has fought. Today people give a holiday for soldiers and that holiday is Veterans day


  10. I think the student have to know why holidays are important because the people who enjoy the army died should be remembered and honored but some people like to enjoy the army because they like to lies people that why a lot people going in the army some soldier died in different places. he lose so much enjoy in the army but he was thinking they lied to him in the army

  11. I think many students realize what the holidays or days off mean they just don't think of putting themselves in the place of others who look forward to that day like Veterans Day. For example in Jane Kenyon's poem she writes, "Blood on leaves, blood on grass, on snow; extravagant beauty of red. Smoke, dust of disturbed earth; parch and burn. Who would choose this for himself?" This shows how she feels about war and that if it were her choice she would not want to be in it or see it. She also writes in her poem, "in their breast pockets, and gloves knitted by their sisters and sweethearts, the men in gray hurled themselves out of the trenches, and rushed against blue. It was what both sides to do." In this quote she explains that even though they have loved ones back home all of them are willing to die for their country.

  12. Humanity has, throughout history, mourned the dead in numerous and distinct ways. In different cultures and in different eras, the way we have remembered the dead has always been changing and adapting concordantly to the adaptation of values and beliefs. In the renaissance era, people reflected on their losses and mourned the dead through literature and through their works, not very unlike today. However, in modern societies, we honor our dead, especially fallen soldiers, with the greatest of reverences and through honorary burials. Students today don’t fully realize the importance of veteran’s day, a day for honoring fallen soldiers, and should be more aware of its importance to veterans and to parents who have had to bury their children. Personally, I feel a great sense of pride and honor towards fallen soldiers because they have made the greatest sacrifice of all: surrendering their lives for our freedom.

  13. These days, most students, including myself sometimes, don't seem to really think about the true meaning as to why we take these days off from school. Students only praise these days because its just another day off.
    In "On Being Asked for a War Poem" by William Butler Yeats, William finds it better that poets don't say anything at all since their is nothing that is good to say so they are better off saying nothing. If you didn't have anything good to say it was definitely a lot better to not say anything at all.
    "I think it better that in times like these
    A poet keep his mouth shut, for in truth
    We have no gift to set a statesman right..."

  14. Today in life, Students don't understand the meaning of veterans day. "It is a holiday to me" says most students. Its not that its not important, but just most people don't know the meaning of it. For example in Jane Kenyon's poem she writes, "Blood on leaves, blood on grass, on snow; extravagant beauty of red. Smoke, dust of disturbed earth; parch and burn. Who would choose this for himself?". Shes explaining that no matter how good we turn the soil, their is always going to be that bloody memory of that war and all the lives we lost.

  15. Many students, including myself find having days off from school very exciting. This is ultimately because school can at time be over whelming and having to wake up at 5 in the morning to get ready for school is exhausting. Most of the days which we get off are because there are some important holidays such as Memorial Day. Memorial day is about more than not having to school its about celebrating the lives & deaths of those who died fighting for our country. However most people dont acknowledge this. When I read the poem "Memorial Day for the War Dead" by Yehuda Amichai it touched me because it revealed how what the march of Memorial was all about. The poem made me feel bad in a way because I have been taking advantage of this day which should be more about not having to go to school but about giving thanks to those who are no longer with us.