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Letter: Keep Veterans Day a school holiday

Published 10:18 am, Wednesday, December 5, 2012
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Fairfield Board of Education member Jennifer Kennelly has said that at the Dec. 11 BOE meeting she wishes to raise the issue of removing Veterans Day as a Fairfield school holiday. This battle was fought in the 2005-2007, and the holiday returned after that hiatus.

Some board members oppose the idea.

Veterans Day, a federal holiday that originally was Armistice Day, has been observed on Nov. 11 since 1922 and by Congressional act since 1936. Nov. 11 marked the end of World War I and has since continued as a day to honor all veterans. Unlike many holidays which were "adjusted" in 1968 to accommodate three-day weekends, veterans and the public resisted the urge to make this a holiday of convenience. That Veterans Day is observed on Nov. 11 and no other day was confirmed as inviolate in 1975. I sincerely hope 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 school holidays.

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 outside of an educational institution. This was furthermore an opportunity for veterans to be recognized by, and share time, with their relatives.

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's observance consists of a single sentence read over the public address system the day before Veterans Day. The whole argument that "we can make Veterans Day better by making it a school day" lacks credibility.

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

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 it the Fairfield Educational system's judgment that veterans are not sufficiently important to honor for a full day?

Don't rob the father, mother, brother, sister or cousin the opportunity to relate their experience as a veteran on their day to their family members. 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 to speak against this idea.

Roger Lee Crossland

Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Fairfield