Sometimes (unfortunately) it takes a holiday or a special day of recognition to make you stop and think about what is really important.
When I attended a Veterans Day prayer service at Rochester’s St. John Neumann School Nov. 10, I was reminded — by children, no less — the value of offering a simple "thank you" to the men and women who have fought for our country. The men from every branch of the armed services who lined up in the school’s gymnasium that day looked truly humbled and honored to be standing in front of a room full of grateful children. Some were overcome with emotion as the children applauded them.
It’s strange to think about that because in many ways these kids are pretty far removed from the era in which many of the veterans fought. These kids live in an era of instant gratification, an era of video games, video chats, text messages, e-mails and social networks. They also live in an America that has an all-volunteer military. But it was really great to see that, as different as these kids might be from the grandparents and great-grandparents who fought for their freedom, they are still proud of their country and their community. They still know what it means when they see a veteran, like Donald Pero of Irondequoit, wearing a hat that says he is a survivor of Iwo Jima. And they know that they should look him in the eye and tell him that they appreciate his service.