The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The Need to Remember

Exploring the significance of Veteran’s Day as a holiday
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Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the United States commemorates those who fought for us in World War I, celebrating the end of the war in 1918. Finally, some acknowledgement of these heroes was given by Parker. 

Upper School history teacher Andrew Bigelow sent out an email detailing the history of WWI, as well as providing links to various resources, including an article all about Veterans Day, a list of possible sentiments of gratitude to be expressed towards veterans, and an explanation of the significance of poppies to the holiday.

“As a former public school teacher, we’ve always honored Veterans Day, we’ve always had some type of Veterans Day assembly, and to me, I just want to make sure everyone knows the significance,” Bigelow said. 

While Bigelow’s email was well received by the community, according to him, it sparked some questions. “One student wrote back to me, asking why we don’t have the day off, and I wrote back, ‘well, why don’t we spend the day honoring veterans and not take the day off?’” Bigelow said. 

Chicago Public Schools take the day off for Veterans Day, but it isn’t considered a “legal school holiday” according to the Illinois Board of Education. Districts may shut school if they wish, but it isn’t required. 

If Parker did take the day off, would we even take a moment to acknowledge the veterans whom the day is named after, or would we see it as nothing more than a day off of school? Bigelow said, “It’s kind of like Labor Day. We’re more focused on the sales and the day off of school than we are about the fact that it’s supposed to support laborers and the working class.”

Though Parker is under no obligation to shut school, it is the responsibility of those who wish to acknowledge Veterans Day to do so. As an independent private school, Parker has the right to choose which holidays are emphasized. At one point in our school’s recent history, school did not close on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and now it does. “I don’t believe that it’s outrightly unfair that we do not get a day off because of Veterans Day, but I do believe that we should, in some way, celebrate it, and give our respect to the soldiers that fought for us,” junior Dillon Madkins said. 

“I had students in class remark on how light traffic was that day, and I realized they didn’t even realize that it was Veterans Day, and it’s a federal holiday and CPS was closed,” said Upper School history teacher Dan Greenstone, an advocate for the acknowledgement of Veterans Day. “It seemed to me that Parker ought to do more to commemorate this holiday. We have a sword on our logo of our athletic uniforms, we’re founded by a Civil War veteran. And while we’re not a pro war school, I think we do a disservice to our community to not acknowledge the sacrifice and contribution of people who have fought for our country,” said Greenstone.

Ultimately, the discussion surrounding Veterans Day and what the appropriate course of action for the school to follow remains ongoing, especially among Parker students passionate about honoring those who have served.

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About the Contributor
Sejal Ahuja, Online Editor
Sejal is thrilled to spend her second year on “The Weekly” as an online editor! In between uploading articles to the fabulous Weekly website and writing articles of her own, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and watching movies. She is also head of MX communications, and a Mock Trial head.