Submitted by Shannon Regan
On Monday, November 12, 2018, Warren Middle School (WMS) students paid tribute to all American veterans who have served their country. During Guide periods, students were invited to participate in four unique activities to honor veterans.
“Remembering Pearl Harbor,” a virtual reality experience, introduced students to Lt. Jim Downing, Pearl Harbor survivor and one of the oldest living American veterans. Downing was a Postmaster on the USS West Virginia. Through this virtual reality experience, students were able to witness Pearl Harbor from a new perspective and understand how the attack on Pearl Harbor not only impacted Downing but also the lives of thousands of people who were directly affected.
“America’s White Table” was just a little white table, or so the students may have thought. After students explored the objects laid upon the table on display in the WMS Library, Mrs. Cynthia Cassidy, WMS Library Media Specialist, introduced the story “America’s White Table,” written by Margot Theis Raven. The author explains the practice of having an empty table in a mess hall to illustrate lost or fallen soldiers. This practice, while gaining more attention through Raven’s story, is said to have come to fruition during the Vietnam War.
As described in Raven’s story, a small round table is used to show a soldier’s lonely battle against many. The table is covered with a white cloth to honor a soldier’s pure heart when he/she answers their country’s call to duty. A lemon slice and grains of salt are placed on a plate to represent a captive soldier’s bitter fate and the tears of families waiting for their loved ones to return. The empty chair tilted upon the table serves as a visual reminder that the soldier is not present. After listening to the story students were then invited to revisit the table to determine what each object symbolized.
Students and staff had the opportunity to create a card and write a personal message to a veteran or current service member. Some students elected to write to Sarah Haddican, the granddaughter of Mrs. Eileen Haddican, WMS Paraprofessional. Sarah Haddican is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps.
Lastly, students were offered the opportunity to write the name of a veteran on a yellow heart to be posted to a large display board to commemorate the service of their family members.
A perfect example of Warren Township students and staff Shining Brighter Every Day!