Thursday November 16, 2017
The city paid tribute to its veterans at two events Thursday, November 9. At a South Burlington High School (SBHS) assembly, veterans were honored for their service in a ceremony organized and co-sponsored by the city’s Veterans Committee and the high school. The South Burlington Fire Department provided an Honor Guard to present the colors for the assembly and the SBHS Chamber Singers performed patriotic songs. Megan Baechle and Danny Terhune, winners of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) student speech contest, delivered thoughtful messages to the audience.
The centerpiece of the event featured a video presentation telling personal stories of the service and courage of some of our local veterans. Students in the South Burlington Big Picture program produced the project through a series of interviews with family members or the veterans whose names appear on the engraved pavers in The Pathway of Honor at South Burlington Veterans Memorial Park, as a way to add more depth and meaning to the memorial. Shawn Allard, a senior at SBHS, conceived the idea and led the student-run service learning project. He reflected that it was his hope to enhance awareness of each veteran’s service and sacrifice as well as to highlight the struggle some veterans encounter when returning from active duty. The message was powerful as students, community members and veterans, some of whom were featured in the clips, watched the videos with undivided attention and appreciation.
The students have taken their project one step further, and have added an interactive feature so that the video presentations are available on a youtube channel that can be accessed on a smart phone by scanning a QR code.
Holly Baker, assistant director of the Recreation and Parks department and member of the Veterans Committee encourages members of the public to visit Veterans Memorial Park to view the videos on their phone. “It is a really fantastic and interactive addition to the memorial and will allow for some meaningful connection and reflection for our community,” she said. A permanent plaque featuring the QR code will be in place next summer, but for now, a laminated sign displays the image. The videos can also be viewed on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMGkQ5G-OA8WAsP-gpl17Dw/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd. Baker commends the efforts of the students, saying, “They are certainly helping to honor a proud tradition.”
Following the ceremony at the high school, a service was held at Veterans Memorial Park on Dorset Street at 11:30 a.m, where the Vermont Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) laid a ceremonial wreath on the granite memorial.