November 15, 2023
Semmelrock Delivers Powerful Message at Veterans Day Assembly
Brenda Semmelrock, faculty and archivist at Kingswood Oxford School is noted in the community for her powerful annual Veterans Day presentations at assemblies. This year was no exception and she delivered a poignant and impactful speech to the middle and upper school students to honor this special day.
Semmelrock gave background on November 11 and the long history behind the day. This day holds profound significance, marking the armistice that ended World War I in 1918. Originally known as Armistice Day, it was later renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to encompass all veterans who have dedicated their lives to defending the values and freedoms Americans hold dear. “This is a solemn occasion to express gratitude and appreciation for the men and women who have selflessly served in the armed forces,” Semmelrock stated.
She gave the students time to reflect on the tremendous service and sacrifice made by the brave individuals who have answered the call of duty. “These men and women have faced unimaginable challenges, often enduring separation from loved ones, risking their lives in hostile environments, and bearing both physical and emotional scars,” she shared. “The observance serves as an opportunity for the nation to acknowledge and appreciate the courage, resilience, and dedication demonstrated by these veterans.”
Semmelrock talked about how expressing gratitude on Veterans Day goes beyond mere words, rather, “it’s a collective acknowledgment of the debt we owe to those who have safeguarded our liberties.” While many veterans have endured hardship and trauma, she noted they carry themselves with dignity and a sense of duty. “Whether they served during times of peace or in the crucible of conflict, their commitment to defending the principles of freedom remains unwavering.”
Semmelrock also talked about the importance of supporting those Veterans in the transition from military service to civilian life, a change that can be a daunting process for many. “Recognizing the challenges they face, it’s essential for society to provide support mechanisms, including employment opportunities, education assistance, and mental health resources. Initiatives that foster a smooth transition can make a significant difference in the lives of those who have served.”
Finally, she impressed solemnly upon the students the incredible responsibility we have to remember the fallen. Veterans Day is a chance to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial ceremonies and events across the country provide an opportunity to remember and honor the fallen heroes who gave their lives in service to their country. “It’s a time to reflect on the impact of their sacrifice and the enduring legacy they leave behind.”
Semmelrock took it a step further and touched upon the importance of continuing education for future generations. “As we commemorate Veterans Day, it’s crucial to educate younger generations about the significance of this day and the sacrifices made by veterans. Schools, community organizations, and families can play a vital role in imparting the values of honor, duty, and gratitude.” Semmelrock said by fostering an understanding of the importance of military service, we can ensure that the sacrifices of veterans are never forgotten.
She left the audience with a powerful message and one that resonated as noted by the thoughtful silence across the auditorium. “Veterans Day serves as a poignant reminder that freedom comes at a cost, a cost borne by the men and women who have served in the armed forces. It is a day to express gratitude, reflect on the sacrifices made, and reaffirm our commitment to supporting those who have defended our nation. By honoring veterans, remembering the fallen, and educating future generations, we ensure that their legacy lives on, and the spirit of service and sacrifice continues to inspire us all.”