While most students think of Veterans Day as just another day of school, this holiday has great cultural significance and plays an important role in the fabric of America.
Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which honors people that have made the ultimate sacrifice for America, Veterans Day celebrates anyone who has served in the military.
Here at GLHS, we are fortunate to have several teachers that are veterans and current military members, including Mr. Cullivan, an AP US History and Economics teacher, and Mr. McGregor, an assistant principal.
Both men cite the military as a cornerstone of their senses of discipline and camaraderie.
“Hard work and dedication can overcome any obstacle is my biggest takeaway... If there is something you don't like, put your head down and get the job done. It is amazing what a group of people can accomplish when that is the mindset” Cullivan said.
“I think the most valuable lesson I learned is how to work as a team. In any endeavor, it’s important for everybody to [be] working together. When there are lives on the line, it’s crucial. I learned to work alongside people I really didn’t like, and it didn’t matter. We did great things” McGregor said.
Mr. Cullivan was deployed to in 2003 to Qatar during the Iraq invasion, where he served as the maintenance unit’s logistics expert. His unit was in charge of caring for the Missile Air Defense that protected their base, as well performing maintenance on the vehicles of Special Forces groups. Cullivan’s specific position entailed ordering parts Special Forces groups needed to complete missions in an efficient and timely manner.
Similarly, Mr. McGregor was deployed to guard the air force’s nuclear bases in Europe in 2004, Iraq in 2009, and Kuwait, Jordan, and Iraq again in 2015. As an Army Chief Warrant Officer 3, McGregor flies a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, which carries supplies, people, and, in times of combat, an M4 rifle and M9 pistol for protection. As a member of the Ohio Army National Guard, he flies once per week at the Rickenbacker Air National Guard base, located around Groveport.
“We are constantly training in the event we are needed, whether here in Ohio or across the globe. We currently have 16 people in Puerto Rico, helping with hurricane recovery” McGregor said.
Like nearly all veterans, Cullivan and McGregor recommend serving in the military to anyone interested.
“It teaches character--hard work, discipline, teamwork, adaptability, point-of-view, and making friends that last a lifetime. Plus, I was able to get through my Bachelor's degree with military education benefits (like the GI Bill) so that is a huge positive as well. It also looks great on job applications and has helped me in that endeavor as well” Cullivan said.
“I joined the Army in 1998 after working long hours and multiple jobs to pay for college. It’s still a great deal to pay for college. It’s also an important way to serve our country. We need really good men and women in the military. [Additionally] I used the Troops to Teachers program, which is a federal program designed to get military members in the classroom as teachers. It is a great program” McGregor said.
Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day, a holiday created under the Wilson administration. Armistice Day was created to commemorate the conclusion of World War I, which ended during the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Thus, the day was originally created to honor the armistice, a treaty, created at the end of the Great War.
Decades later, President Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day, but it did not effectively take place until the 1970’s.
As President Ronald Reagan said so eloquently, "We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause."
Veterans Day is a great time to show gratitude to anyone who served in the military. So be sure to thank a veteran or member of the military this Veterans Day. Making a contribution to an organization like the Military Veterans Resource Center (MVRC), which assists veterans in need, is also a great way to say “thanks” to anyone who has served America.