Ted S. Yoho: Public schools should honor Veterans Day

Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.

In May 1866, more than two years after the Battle of Olustee, the largest Civil War battle in Florida, Lt. Federick B. Grossman of the 7th U.S. Infantry inspected the battleground and had Company B of that regiment intern the fallen soldiers in a wooden monument. To further honor their fallen comrades, Grossman and his men engraved words on the sides of the monument. On one side they engraved, "May the living profit by the example of the dead." 

The words that Lt. Grossman and his men inscribed almost 150 years ago should be taken to heart by all of us. We can never honor our veterans enough for the sacrifices they have made for our country and for our freedoms. 

With more than 1.6 million veterans calling Florida home, more than any other state besides California, we especially need to ensure that veterans and members of our armed forces are honored here in the Sunshine State. 

This week, I found that in my district Alachua, Columbia, Bradford, Marion, Madison, Hamilton and Union counties did not observe Veterans day. My disappointment simply cannot be measured.

It’s troubling that Alachua County Public Schools even had off on Friday for the University of Florida’s homecoming but not on Monday for Veterans Day. As a proud alum of the University of Florida and a fervent member of the Gator Nation I know how much the university has done for the people of Alachua County. I bleed orange and blue but we all collectively need to bleed red, white and blue as every American owes generations of veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. For without our veterans, we would not have the opportunity to cheer on our Gators or any of the wonderful freedoms that we as Americans enjoy. The very least we can do is honor and remember our heroes who served this country--especially those that made the ultimate sacrifice.  

Students in Alachua County and all across North Central Florida should follow the spirit that Lt. Grossman and his men etched at Olustee: “May the living profit by the example of the dead.” We need to ensure that our students learn to honor and respect our veterans , the men and women currently serving our nation in the Armed Forces, one of whom, I am proud to note, is my daughter, and the countless sacrifices they have made on our behalf. 

Our public schools should honor Veterans Day with a holiday and teach our children how much we owe the men and women who have defended this nation for more than 225 years. And all of us need to thank veterans every day for their service, especially on Veterans Day. 

Ted S. Yoho is Congressman-Elect for the 3rd Florida Congressional District.

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