By Aiden Wacksman
Although the coronavirus crisis has changed our lives in many ways, we can luckily find one special event that is unchanging: our celebration of Veteran’s Day, when we acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices veterans have made for our country.
Due to the coronavirus, many Americans took to social media to thank our veterans for their invaluable contributions. Social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook became flooded with messages appreciating veterans for their service.
Oak Hall took the extra step to thank our freedom fighters. Lower School (LS) music teachers Erin Cushing and Amanda Ferwerda directed a virtual concert to honor our troops. The fact that they were able to assemble this particular concert during the coronavirus pandemic is truly remarkable.
The concert was performed by all Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) and LS students, and was solely composed with instruments. The composition also involved dancing. Songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America, the Beautiful” were part of the concert. Although unavailable to the Middle and Upper School, it will be shared via email with ECLC/LS parents exclusively. Certain songs were assigned to each grade level, and students have been practicing since early October.
Cushing explained that her favorite part of planning this event was watching the students improve. “I absolutely loved watching Ms. Ferwerda work with the Lower School students,” she said. The most difficult part for her, however, was editing videos of student performances. “The last eight months were a boot camp in learning how to work in iMovie,” she explained.
“I love sharing messages of peace and unity and showing students the many waysErin Cushing, Lower School Music Teacher
we can honor the people who serve our country.”
The idea to create a virtual Veteran’s Day concert was sparked in September, as Ferwerda and Cushing had been producing LS virtual assemblies. The two music teachers contacted Lower School Director Michelle Mills and Lower School Assistant Director Annie Zarrinpar with their idea, and the rest is history.
“In my 15 years of teaching, this is always one of my favorite programs to present,” Cushing stated. She explained that she loves to unite the younger generation with the older one.
One of my favorite things to do on Veteran’s Day is to try and thank at least three veterans for their service. I usually go into town so I can find current or former service members. However, that is not possible this year due to COVID-19 concerns. Like many others, I instead relied upon social media to convey my thanks.
I am very proud of how Americans, in a time of division and uncertainty, are still able to come together and appreciate our veterans. It is in the most difficult times that the American spirit of resiliency and unity makes itself loud and clear. I believe this Veteran’s Day teaches us an especially valuable lesson: What unites us will always be stronger than what divides us.