In a span of a few days in our area, the good, bad and ugly
As a former Army soldier, I was invited by the principal of St. Michael-Albertville High School to attend a special program on Friday to honor veterans for their service. It was a beautiful program, and the auditorium was full. There was special seating for the veterans, probably 50 to 60 in total.
In addition to the students who spoke, Mayor Chris Coleman of St. Paul gave an excellent thank you to the veterans, and it was followed up by comments by Principal Bob Driver. We were called to stand up by name, and at the end, a round of applause was given that lasted for five minutes. The shop class made special wood plaques that were given to each of us by individual students, who thanked us for our service. The respect for us was huge!
The day after, in the Star Tribune’s Variety section, I read the story of people who had served in the military effort (“They served — and continue to serve,” Nov. 11). Each had a unique and, I believe, heroic story, until I came to the last one who served in the Marines. The caption below her photograph said that she “encountered sexual harassment during her service in the Marines” and “continues to fight for better treatment for servicewomen,” and the story stated that her military time is in the past. I found that interesting, if not disappointing, and thought that she must have had something else to tell about her career in the Marines to define what she was proud of and not what the reporter chose to bring out in the story, which had nothing to do with honoring these veterans.
Then, on Tuesday, I read of the situation at the high school in Edina during which some students decided to sit rather than stand during the national anthem and during “Taps.” (“Veterans Day protest roils Edina High.”) What a difference this was from the many celebrations and honors given veterans in many towns across the state and across the country, including St. Michael-Albertville.