Veterans Day: A Time of Sensitivity and Unity

The Veterans Day Committee organizes assembly and year-roundsupport for veterans post-COVID


ELHS students wear Vikes for Vets to show support, and are available for sale.


For the past two years on Veterans Day, there has not been the same school-wide assembly like usual. A once celebratory and commemorating event was dwindled down to moments of silence, videos, and Zoom. As ELHS nears Veterans Day, maskless and able to be in large groups, the assembly is ready to return.

For history teacher Matthew LaConti, he feels pride in the work he and the committee put into recognition for veterans. Along with the work of the committee, the assembly wouldn’t be what it is without the help of student readers, music classes, and art classes.

“I’m on the Veterans Day Committee with a number of other teachers who have been on this committee for the last eight years. There’s a number of teachers, but it truly feels like a school-wide effort to put together,” Mr. LaConti said.

Mr. LaConti expressed his difficulties as a history teacher in this time of the nation’s divisiveness, and how some might be apathetic to the assembly because of the state of the country. To counter this, Mr. LaConti described
Veterans Day as one day where the focus isn’t about fighting, but about paying respect.

“I think the last thing that I or anyone in the committee wants to do is divide anyone or leave anyone out on Veterans Day. That’s my bottomline. I would like to have conversations about how we can make a Veterans Day in the context
of the way our country is heading, but I think Veterans Day isn’t a time to find fault in what they’ve done,” Mr. LaConti said.

In efforts to encourage student involvement in paying respect to veterans, Mr. LaConti helps select students of each grade to speak during the assembly. One student who is particularly moved by Veterans Day is junior Kai Ritz, a
speaker for the assembly, who shares the feeling with Mr. LaConti that Veterans Day should be a day of unity and listening.

“To me, Veterans Day is a day to honor those that never got the recognition they deserved. It takes an insane amount of passion to put your life solely into something you believe in. Veterans devote their lives in the hope that they’ll be a net positive in the world, and I deeply respect that,” Ritz said.

Ritz also expressed that his appreciation for Veterans Day stemmed from his grandfather. As his grandson, Ritz felt pride for the valor of his grandfather, and those who fought beside him.

“I’m involved in the assembly because one of my biggest inspirations in my life, my grandfather, was a veteran. On top of that, I respect all veterans for their bravery and courage. It’s something I think everyone should respect on an individual level no matter their stance,” Ritz said.

Alongside the efforts of the student speakers are the art and music classes. Choir teacher Anthony Maiese prepares his students for the assembly from the very beginning of the school year to make an impact.

“From almost from the first day of school, we are working our way through the repertoire in class just as we would with any other music. I think the live music really adds a level of importance and enhances the whole event,” Mr. Maiese said.

The amount of work from a variety of the school community members doesn’t stop at the assembly, but continues throughout the year to help veterans. Today is a time to celebrate that.

“While it shouldn’t be limited to Veterans or a specific day, it’s important to stop and acknowledge other people’s work and sacrifice, especially when we benefit from it,” Mr. Maiese said.