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Veterans Day 2017

Sean Purdy and Lily Kepner

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Assembling in the field house, Wilton High School Student and Staff spent this past Friday honoring our veterans. This year the variety of speakers made for eye opening perspectives on the true meaning of Veterans day, and what we can do every day to honor those who serve and our beloved country. A Wilton High School Senior spoke of his choice to join the Marine Corps after high school, and stunned the audience with his passion for the Military in a beautiful speech that roused a standing ovation. A Wilton High School Alum, who has returned for his second year in a row, elaborated on what it meant to be a soldier. He said it didn’t mean you were extraordinary, it meant you were a hard worker. It didn’t mean you were automatically a hero, it meant you found the true meaning of earning your sleep and doing what you have to do to survive. Anyone can join the military, he said, but the most distinct difference between a veteran and an average civilian, is that veterans are not held back by the inner sense to doubt themselves. He encouraged us to live our dreams, and make it happen for ourselves, and not ask for favors or doubt our abilities. This important, essential message, must be taken to heart by everyone here, and will accompany me wherever I end up in my life: Work hard and you will succeed. Don’t hold yourself back. A “thank you” on veterans day isn’t enough, we have to use the safety, privilege, and protection our veterans selflessly provide to make ourselves the best people we can be, and thus make a strong country where everyone has a significance, and everyone can be heard.

Sean and I had the privilege of talking to Tim after the assembly, and asked him if he had any parting words or advice for us. He responded:

“I think it’s hard to fathom while you’re here, when you are in one of the best spots in the world to be right now. You’ll realize how overly prepared you are for a lot of simple things like writing, reading, arithmetic. You will be way above the national standard. Use that little boost to better yourself and better others. Too often nowadays, there are too many people that are not where they want to be because of “him or her or this guy or that guy” when really the only person holding you back is yourself. Everyone I know that I graduated high school with or that I met in the professional world that is successful got there because they never took “no” for an answer, they were always working hard, they never ask for a handout from anybody and always gave 100%. If you do this, whether you go to college or not, you’re going to dominate this world. So, you’re lucky coming from Wilton, although it doesn’t seem like it, and once you get into the real world there’s no boogeyman out there trying to hold you down, all it takes is effort.”

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Veterans Day 2017