The Academy community gathered on Veterans Day, November 11, to honor and pray for those who served in the U.S. military. The Mass represented a solemn occasion for the nation and the Church, as the date was also the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours, patron saint of soldiers. Honored guests were Academy families and friends who serve in the military.
Mr. Raimo, Academy President, highlighted the double signficance of the day in a short speech before Mass began. Mr. Raimo traced the origins of Veterans Day to Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of World War I. He said the name change was not superficial: “Since the change in 1954, it has been a day in which we honor all our veterans.” Mr. Raimo concluded his words with a warm welcome for all of the veterans present in the audience.
Senior Aubrey McGuire represented the history department in a powerful recital of President Reagan’s speech honoring the veterans of D-Day. This speech reflected the faith in God and the belief in democracy that led young men to risk their lives for Europe and “the millions who cried out for liberation.” Throughout the speech, there was a continual reminder that these young men recognized that “democracy is worth dying for.” The speech also struck an important distinction between the arbitrary violence for conquest and the use of force for freedom, which American soldiers have always upheld.
Sarah Davis,another senior, introduced a PowerPoint presentation listing all veterans who have served their nation, from the American Revolution to the War on Terror. She also read a poem in celebration of the sacrifices veterans have made and continue to make today. The poem, “Because of You, Unknown Soldier” by Courtney Tanabe, expressed gratitude for those who fight for individuals whom they don’t even know.
Father Bruce Craig of Mary Help of Christians parish reiterated the sincere thanks that Americans feel for the generosity of those who serve. Throughout the mass, the Worship Band added theme-related songs, ending in “God Bless America.”
The veterans and active servicemen and women in attendance included Mr. Ron Bailey, Captain Carlos Flanagan, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Wright, and Vietnam veteran Mr. Gary Gard. Many lower school students had grandfathers attend the Mass.