City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Mr. Tom Harris

Featured Article

Bridging the Gap

Honoring our beloved men and woman of service

On November 11, American citizens from around the nation join together to celebrate Veterans Day.  Yet, many people do not know where this tradition began!  The holiday was formerly known as “Armistice Day”, after an armistice between the allied nations and Germany commenced on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to stop the fighting of WW I.   In 1919, President Wilson declared November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.  Then, after WW II required an even greater amount of servicemen and women in the nation’s history, a veteran from Alabama (Raymond Weeks) led a delegation to Washington D.C. to create a national holiday to include all veterans.  In 1954, President Eisenhower established November 11th as Veterans Day.

It is a time to reflect upon the word SERVICE and to appreciate the meaning of RESPECT and HONOR.  Reaching out to connect generations is an exemplary way to practice putting these character traits into action.  This year, we reached out to two Spring Hill assisted living homes:  The Reserve and Morning Pointe.  We asked them if they had any Veteran residents that we could honor by making them colorful posters with heartfelt messages of appreciation and love from middle school students.  They were overjoyed as they shared the stories of some of their residents and accepted the offer with excitement.  While working on the veteran posters was completely voluntary, I was pleasantly surprised by how many students jumped at the opportunity to bless their elders.  As I watched them work, I read words like, “protector”, “hero”, and “freedom”.  One poster even ended up hosting the Pledge of Allegiance (typos and all)!  However, reality quickly sets in when working with teens and pre-teens.  A few kids wanted to write silly things or draw pictures that were completely inappropriate.  Selfish behavior is common at this age, but it is also the perfect opportunity for growth.  I used my “mom-voice” to direct our thoughts and hearts toward serving the individuals who had so bravely served us.  To pause and reflect upon the fact that these veterans had left their families and friends to step out and protect our enjoyment of the “free-est” melting pot of the world.  We remembered that true service happens when you put aside your own pride and selfish desires, and place another person’s needs above your own.  The miracle of service is that in the end, the biggest gift is not received by the one being served, but rather in the heart of the server itself.  As we waited to see the photos of the poster delivery to the veterans, the students asked a million times, “did they like our posters?  Did they get them yet”?  This experience was definitely a mutual blessing to all involved.  While we wished to be able to meet these sweet souls in person, we were able to get to know their stories through virtual interviews and help from family and staff.

John Delano Pedersen was a Private who completed a 16 month deployment in Germany.  He said upon enlisting, he missed his family and friends and the “freedom to come and go as I pleased”.  He shared a positive memory about playing lots of sports and making new friends while overseas.

Gary Cooper was a Corporal mechanic in the Army for 3 years.  When asked what the word “freedom” means he said, “Serving your country,  cause the service is good for you”.

Tom Harris is one of the last living D-Day veterans.  He was a Sergeant in the US Army during WW2 1942-1945.  His stations included Great Britain, France and Germany.  He was in the 2nd wave of D-Day behind the 16th infantry regiment of which most were lost.  When he returned from the war, all he received from the government was $225.  “It was just enough for me to make my way home after flying into New York.  I just had the clothes on my back”. 

Winifred (Winnie) Breegle served in the US Navy (W.A.V.E.S) as a Cryptographer Coding Officer.  Before enlisting, Winnie taught Latin, Spanish and English to high school students.  She was the perfect candidate for secret coding!  She was a member of a secret society of 10 coders, charged with using the all-verbal Navajo language to send and receive confidential and urgent messages.  Reflecting upon her service, Mrs. Breegle shares, “freedom should be our highest goal in life but that does not mean that you should do everything that you want to do just for yourself. There is a saying, "freedom isn't free" The military does their share to provide freedom for us all.”

  • Mr. John Pederson
  • Mr. Tom Harris
  • Mr. Gary Cooper
  • Winnie Breegle
  • Art students who created posters to honor our Veterans
  • Sorrel Dugan and art students who created posters to honor our Veterans. Karoline Chrestman, Isobelle Moore, Selah Dugan, Sorrel Dugan.