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Hastings-on-Hudson School District’s Veteran’s Day Goes Virtual

Hastings-on-Hudson School District’s Veteran’s Day Goes Virtual
 
Students in Jeff Conwisar's ninth grade class watch the special veteran-made video on November 9th.
 
Traditionally, the Hastings-on-Hudson School District commemorates Veteran’s Day by inviting local residents who have served in the military into their schools. The way students observed Veteran’s Day was different this year, but the message was still the same.
 
“What being a veteran means to me in this country is all of us having the right to pursue our own happiness however or whatever that may be,” said Robert Lee, Navy veteran and Hastings-on-Hudson American Legion Post Commander through a special pre-recorded video for
Hastings students. “Whenever that is threatened people step up to defend it and they are your veterans and just for a day like today we consider it special because we honor those people who gave up so much to ensure our freedoms.”
 
Robert Lee served as a radarman in the U.S. Navy from 1995 to 1999, spending two tours on a ship in the Persian Gulf. He now operates the Admiral Farragut American Legion Post 1195 and appeared in the nearly 19-minute video with seven other veterans reaching out to students regarding the importance of Veteran’s Day and the meaning of military service.
 
“I think service to my country means putting the needs of the country above yourself,” said David Chen. Chen served six years in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Iraq in 2003. These days, he works as a lawyer in addition to being the Sergeant-at-Arms for the American Legion. “Being willing to sacrifice if necessary for the values that our country stands for and upon which our country was founded.”
 
Jeff Conwisar, World History and AP Psychology teacher at Hastings High School, played the video for his ninth grade students who watched the interview session with some of Hastings local vets in his classroom on November 9th.
 
“It was really nice for the students to see that veterans come from all ages and all walks of life,” Mr. Conwisar said. “It was great to appreciate the commitment they made to our country.”
 
The video culminated in John Chang, a U.S. Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War and Operation Joint Endeavor and a Hastings High School graduate reciting the poem “Just a Common Soldier” by Lawrence Vaincourt. Choking back tears, Chang read the final stanza to the camera regarding our many veterans and their sacrifice to our country:
 
“If we cannot give him honor, while he’s here to hear the praise,
then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps a simple notice in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, because a soldier died today.”
 
The video created by the members of American Legion Post 1195 can be found here.
 
In a still from the video, American Legion Post 1195 Commander Robert Lee speaks to Hastings students.