Classtime Service Honors American Military Veterans

Though classes were held as usual on Veterans’ Day, the school held a short service led by Reverend Ebner on Thursday morning. “[The ceremony acknowledged the] service given by the nation’s veterans throughout the years…and asked people to think how fortunate we are because of the dedication and sacrifice that people have given to keep us free,” said Rev. Ebner. Special guest Fred Scott, veteran and retired Secretary of the Academy, came to offer a short reflection on his service to the country. Prayers were offered, music was played, and Dean of Community and Multicultural Development Bobby Edwards sang the national anthem. Debate stands as to why PA students attend classes on Veterans’ Day when those at public school do not. Some feel that the school does not do enough to honor the country’s veterans. “The school should spend more time, more focus on Veterans’ Day. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we have workshops,” said Prateek Kumar ’07. Although an e-mail was sent to students about the service, many were unaware or knew very little about the event. “The contribution of the veterans is very significant. The school does try to do something at least but just by the evidence…we don’t know what’s going on,” said Danny Lee ’05. “If I were a soldier, I would want that one day a year to be recognized for it. But at the same time, we are a boarding school. How do you balance that? A national holiday with a commitment to provide the best possible education?” said Dean of Students and Residential Life Marlys Edwards. The Phillips Academy calendar has 144 teaching days, fewer than the 180-day school year mandated by Massachusetts law for public schools. “We should do more than we are but there are so many demands on the academic calendar. You have to make do with what you can. In the past when [Veterans’ Day] had fallen on the weekend, we did more. It’s always been a problem to celebrate these events in the midst of an academic schedule, as is with all educational institutions,” said Rev. Ebner. “Fifteen minutes can make a very powerful statement about something…. It is a time of reflection on the significance of the day…. There are values like sacrifice, service, humility, and these…bring us all together,” he added. The service was held at Memorial Place, the horseshoe-shaped monument behind the Shuman Admissions Center. The memorial honors Vietnam and Korean Wars veterans; the half-finished pillars symbolize the “unfinished business” caused by the deaths of young soldiers.