NW Flag Raising Ceremony: A Veteran’s Day Tribute


By Michael McKay, Staff Writer

Niles West held its annual Veteran’s Day flag-raising ceremony this on Friday, Nov. 10. Every year, the school holds the ceremony to honor and remember the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

The ceremony began with Assistant Principal Mr. Mark Rigby, a former US Army Ranger, leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a brief history of what Veteran’s Day is and why we celebrate it.

“Americans across our country and the globe will pause momentarily to honor the men and women of our armed forces. For the past 241 years, our freedom has been ensured by their duty and selfless service,” said Rigby.

Rigby usually would read a poem to the audience each Veteran’s Day; however, this year, he decided to tell the story of the Lost Battalion of World War I. Rigby believes it to be a great story that perfectly exemplifies the U.S. Armed Forces and their bravery, dedication, and their willingness to sacrifice it all to defend the United States.

“For all of our service members who have stood guard during peacetime, and those who have witnessed the horrors of combat, let it be said that our soldiers are always there for America, and always will be. They seek no fame or fortune, they want no rewards, they know what it’s like to stand guard on freedom’s frontier far away from the comforts of home. To all of our veterans, we have simple, safe message: Thank you,” said Rigby.

The speech was followed by the flag being raised full staff, then lowered to half-staff.

In the audience were many staff members and students. One of these students was junior Daniel Liston. Liston talked about what he believes the flag stands for and why he celebrates Veteran’s Day.

“The ceremony means more than just remembering our soldiers… The flag raising symbolizes all the veterans serving now, in the past, and the future. It reminds the people of this great nation that none of our accomplishments as a people, as a nation, would be there without the brave men and women standing at the door safeguarding us… The flag doesn’t just represent a nation to me, it represents a family, a family that will roll up their sleeves and get to work. A family that has each other’s backs. We’re all Americans in the end,” said Liston.

Another one of our school’s veterans, Coach Fernando Perez, a former US Marine of six years, also discussed his views on the flag and Veteran’s Day.

“I kind of look at the flag as something a little different from most people. I’ve only lived here in the US. When I see the flag, I see it almost as a blue-collar symbol, for the lack of a better term. My father was a devoted Catholic, and he always preached service and hard work to me. He told me that our flag symbolizes the work and the service that we as Americans devote… Tomorrow, November 11th, I’ll be on my computer e-mailing all of my buddies from the service, catching up with them, and wishing them all a happy Veteran’s Day,” said Perez.

On behalf of the West community, we wish our veterans a Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for your service to our country.