Veterans Day. A nationwide celebration of the brave men and women who joined our armed forces to help fight the enemies of America, and a remembrance of those we have lost fighting overseas. Across the country, people show their gratitude to the veterans they know, each in their own way.
In Columbia, Maryland, the people showed their appreciation in force. The Howard County Veterans Foundation, along with the Columbia Association, the Veterans Day Parade Committee, and many others, organized the event to thank the nearly 18,000 veterans within Howard County for their service. The Veterans Day Parade, which traditionally has been hosted in Ellicott City’s Main Street, was moved this year to Columbia, and was incorporated into the city’s many other celebratory activities.
Robert Gillette, president of the Howard County Veterans Foundation, said that the shift would give Main Street businesses some breathing room to recover from the ruinous flash floods that struck the town earlier in the year. “We didn’t want to be seen as abandoning Ellicott City in its time of need,” said Gillette, an 8-year Navy veteran, to the Baltimore Sun. “But we didn’t want to appear to be showcasing the damage to Ellicott City, either. It cuts both ways.”
The parade, which kicked off at 9:30 a.m., led to a lot in front of Whole Foods Market, where a spot of land at the lakefront was dedicated in June 2017 for the construction of a county monument to veterans and their families. The tip of the parade’s spear was Atholton High School’s own JROTC program, providing the Color Guard for the procession.
Atholton celebrates Veterans Day in more ways than one. Free lunch is given to the staff members, and the Student Leadership Cadre hangs banners on the teachers’ doors to distinguish them as veterans. Gloria Ogordi, the president of Atholton’s SLC, said this: “The idea of door decorations formed when I met with Ms. Nasir to brainstorm ideas for a Veterans Day celebration last year. When Ms. Nasir told me how many veterans we had in our school I was surprised because I would have never known who they were if she did not give me the list.” Gloria goes on to explain that she felt that if she hadn’t realized that so many veterans worked at Atholton, then other students were probably also unaware. “Students would have the opportunity to walk into class and thank them for their service,” she said, further explaining her rationale for this decision.
For many people, veterans are family, friends, and acquaintances at work. For the students of Atholton High School, however, they’re also the people who help us become who we are. And we must always remember that.
Image courtesy of Columbia Association.