Bobcats commemorate their veterans with a complimentary lunch

by Sarah Perez

SERVING OUR COUNTRY: Relatives of students and staff who are veterans or are actively in the U.S. Forces come together for a celebration of the service they have provided. They were gifted with a complimentary lunch and a thank you from their Bobcat peers. Photo by Sarah Perez

Veteran’s Day is recognized as a holiday to honor our veterans for the service they have contributed to this country. Families around the nation pay tribute to their veterans, whether that be a celebration or a simple thank you and a handshake. Various schools in Broward have shown their gratitude for our veterans this year.

Select Broward County public schools have provided its veterans with a treat as a tribute to the service their heroes have done on Nov. 5. Relatives of students and staff who have served or are serving in the US Forces will be able to receive a free lunch. The event was established by the Broward County Public School Board, which holds this event every year.  

“The Vietnam veterans were treated very badly by the United States. We came home and we were spat on, so I always had a bitter memory about the way the country welcomed us home,” said Vietnam War Airforce Veteran Eric Wollman, who served in the Air Force for over 40 years. “Luckily, 50 years later, they learned something and they are now welcoming their heroes back rather than spitting on them.”

The lunch was organized by science and SGA (Student Government Association) teacher Donna Yard in cooperation with principal Brad Fatout and behavioral specialist Gloria Basulto Arencibia. This is also the first year Yard was able to be in charge of the event, with Arencibia being in charge the years prior.

“This lunch is to show the veterans that we care and support them with everything they have done,” Yard said. “We’re also able to get the students involved and seeing that we appreciate them so they are able to as well.” 

The event welcomed the relatives of students and staff who have served or are serving in the U.S. Forces. They were treated with a performance by members of West Broward’s chorus, who sang the National Anthem. Ensuingly, a representative of NHS (National Honor Society), distributed thank you cards for each veteran. They were then able to enjoy their complimentary lunch.

“I feel very proud because of the recognition and appreciation given to us,” said retired Army Sergeant Daniel Hill. “Everyone has been so welcoming in what we do.” 

Although our veterans are now commemorated for their service, many people were not as affable to our country’s heroes. Veterans used to be welcomed home after serving our country with a lack of honor and reverence. Many people would blatantly disrespect our country’s heroes and leave them without the recognition they deserve. 

“When I came back from Vietnam, the country was in a state of protesting and the Vietnam veterans were treated very badly by the public,” Wollman said. “I’m proud to be a veteran even though the country, in the past, did not appreciate their veterans. For a long time, I hid it in the back of my mind.”

Fortunately, this celebration is an example of the redemption of the nation in regard to celebrating our veterans. The event revealed to be an outlet for socializing with others, which brought both the veterans and their relatives closer together. All of the veterans who attended were very appreciative of the accoladed event. 

“It’s moments like these that make me feel appreciated,” said Staff Sergeant Anthony Lopez, who served in the U.S. Army for eight years. “It’s when people come up to me thanking me for my service. It makes me proud.”