Mount Si Veterans Day Assembly, ‘Best assembly ever’ says student

[This article was written by Mount Si High School senior, Michael McCall]

If you’re like most people I’ve talked to, on either side, it is easy to feel bitter about the entire last year of politics. If you were and are a passionate supporter, I congratulate you. That isn’t how it was for most, though. The general consensus for kids at Mount Si about election day was: “Thank God that this will be over.”

The results stopped mattering to us that much. We just wanted it over. How some might have felt after it was over is another story, and not the point of this. November 10th, at Mount Si, we had our Veterans Day assembly. I don’t think a single person in there thought about the election for a second during that hour.

At the beginning of our assembly, we stood for the national anthem, performed by the Mount Si Choir. Then, the veterans in attendance introduced themselves. There were veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iraqi Freedom, and more. We were in the presence of heroes, and everyone respected that. We were completely silent for the entire assembly, a rare occurrence at Mount Si assemblies. We were in awe.

Senior Owen Roche spoke about his experiences with his father, who served overseas for over a year. He gave us a small glimpse of what it is like having a parent fighting overseas. Shortly following his speech, senior Austin Ross spoke about his father as well. Everyone in the crowd felt the emotion in his speech and the embrace he shared with his father. I now know that it isn’t something that I, or anyone who hasn’t experienced it, can pretend to understand.

The Fallen Heroes Project was started when I was an 8th grader at Snoqualmie Middle School by fellow students. Since then, we have all known of artist Michael G. Reagan, and the work he does, thanks to teacher Thomas Burford and fellow classmates. Michael Reagan, a Vietnam veteran, spends his time creating portraits of fallen soldiers, and sends them home to their families, free of charge. At the assembly, we learned more about him and the work he does. He shared stories of losing friends, and of how much the work means to him. He sends parents, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives back their loved ones in his portraits. He told us that he looked at their faces, and even though he didn’t know them, he loves them. If you would like to take part in the project and make a donation, please visit https://www.fallenheroesproject.org/.

Our focus that morning was shifted over from the anger and annoyance we had felt during the election cycle, to what really matters: the people who actually represent the best of what this country has to offer. It was the best assembly our school has had. The people who selflessly defend our rights are heroes. Their importance cannot be overstated, and the respect they deserve from all of us is immeasurable.

Through student speakers, and the speeches of veterans, any divisiveness felt was gone, and that was the point of that hour, and of this day. We aren’t supposed to feel like democrats and republicans, we are supposed to feel like Americans. What we are supposed to do in this country, is see ourselves as Americans first. Our political views should be farther down the list of things we use to identify ourselves. Today, don’t be a Trump supporter, don’t be a Hillary supporter, be an American, and go thank the people who allow us to have separate views in the first place.

“From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother” (Shakespeare, Henry V).

Happy Veterans Day.

Mount Si students stood in line for 15 minutes to pay respects to our community Veterans. Photo: MSHS Facebook page

Mount Si students stood in line for 15 minutes to pay respects to our community Veterans. Photo: MSHS Facebook page

Comments

  1. Chris Jackson says

    I’m proud of you Michael! What a terrific essay. Well done!

  2. Thank you to all the wonderful students and faculty at Mt Si HS for what I also felt was the best Veterans Day assembly I ever went to there. Hearing things from other schools and remebering some past issues there I was fully expecting something else and stood in awe seeing over a 1000 students standing reverently and quietly while the school choirs sang the National Anthem. And a big thanks to the culinary arts department for the wonderful breakfast buffet. From the “old retired soldier” tank you all.

  3. Linda Hover says

    I did not attend the assembly but am so proud of all the wonderful Veterans that attended and the Mount Si High School students attending with the respect they showed our Veterans. Maybe between the old and the young and the in-between we can have the respect and urgency to bring this nation back together as “One Nation Under God” as it should be. Thank you Veterans for your continued bravery in defending our nation and it’s people & values. A big thank you to the students of Mount Si High School for just being the great young adults that the majority of you seem to be and the great leaders that you will become.

  4. What a well written article and I salute the students students and staff of Mount Si high school.
    I severed in Vietnam before most of your teachers were born. At the time it was an unpopular war. We did what needed to be done. Unlike the media and holly wood would have you believe
    I got food to people who had none, medical supplies to those that needed them.
    This article brought a tear to my eye and pride in my heart that the young now understand.

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