amBelvidere School Board of 2013 shame on you. Again a slap in the face and complete disrespect for all the veterans of this great country and Boone County.

Who decided two years ago through their infinite wisdom that it would better not to let the students have off Wednesday, Nov. 11 and not to be able to participate in our Veterans’ Day Parade?

Belvidere has always honored their veterans, their Gold Star Mothers, Sisters and Brothers with a parade, with scouts and high school marching bands. I realize it is very inconvenient from an “all about me” school board and superintendent standpoint to have a day off in the middle of the week.

When I called the school administration office to question this decision, I was told that the powers that be two years ago decided, it would be best interest for the students to be taught by teachers about the importance of Veterans’ Day. The truth is I would agree with that. It would be great for the schools and teachers to take an interest the day before Veteran’s Day or the Friday before Veteran’s Day and supposedly do this.

But will they?

I think it very important that the students be allowed, if they choose, to honor the veterans with a parade, a 21 gun salute, a moment of silence, and listen to a veteran for a short time; after all we veterans “wrote a blank check to the United States, which was payable up to his/her life.”

I hope that the teachers in Belvidere’s schools on Nov. 11 will tell their students that since WWII over 660,000 men and women have given their lives for our country. Thousands will remain in veterans’ homes or hospitals and spend the rest of their lives without arms and legs, blind or with other horrific injuries sustained in war.

I hope the teachers also mention that of the over 58,000 men killed in Vietnam, over 38,000 were only 18-years-old or younger.

I hope it is mentioned that there is a brick in the VFW Memorial Garden here in Belvidere at the VFW Post for the youngest man who gave his life in Vietnam. Marine Dan Bullock was only 15-years-old when he was killed. I hope you remember to tell your students that in war, there are no unwounded soldiers.

Presidents Day, Good Friday, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving. Martin Luther King’s Day are all important days to be remembered. I cannot believe a misguided school board could actually decide that Veterans’ Day is not important enough to let students off to honor the people who paid with their blood and lives for all the freedoms we all enjoy.

Please never let this be done again. This is not for me, this is for all the men and women who have suffered and died in terrible wars.

For the first time ever, there will be no parade scheduled down State Street in Belvidere. No marching bands, no troops of scouts carrying their flags. But the American Legion and the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars will not forget their brothers and sisters. At 10 a.m. Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, at the VFW Post 1461 we will remember, please join us if you can.

Gregory W. Kelm

Commander VFW Post 1461 2006-2015

Chairman Veterans’ Assistance Commission of Boone County since formation Dec. 12, 2012

Vietnam Medic with the 101st Airborne 1970 through 1971

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