PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Veteran’s Day is an opportunity to give thanks to those currently serving, and to those who have served our great country; protecting the freedoms, rights, and privileges American’s enjoy today. As a history teacher, I share with my students how this day was initially called Armistice Day to recognize the day the ceasefire was signed during World War I, putting an end to hostilities on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m. In 1954, Congress replaced ‘Armistice’ with ‘Veteran’s’ to acknowledge all who serve.
To honor Veterans, many schools across America hold Veteran’s Day assemblies to help the students learn about military service and those who fought in prior and current conflicts. Often, students find inspiration in learning their teacher or a friend’s family member has served or is currently serving the country, as have my students.
One student in particular, senior Caroline Beattie, Manatee School for the Arts, (MSA) Manatee County, Florida, where I teach, asked if she could complete a painting of me as her submission to recognize local veterans during our school’s Veteran’s Day assembly and program. The school recognizes current and past faculty members, and former students who have or are serving in all branches of the military.
Upon joining MSA as a sophomore, Caroline was approached by her art teacher, Ms. Rosenbarger, to paint for MSA’s Veteran’s Day Assembly that is held every year. “Painting portraits with saturated and eccentric colors brings me a lot of joy,” she said. “There is so much to uncover within a person when you have the chance to draw out their spirit.”
Previously, she has completed portraits of her father who served as a Marine, and her grandfather who served in the Army and Navy.
“I painted my grandfather for 2018's assembly, and when I finished the painting I was able to share it with him before he died this summer. At [his] memorial service I shared the artwork with family and friends. I was gracious to be able to represent his time in the Navy and Army, as well as connect people to his spirit.”
I always share my background with my students to include my service as a Citizen Airmen in the Air Force Reserve.
“This year I wasn’t sure who I was going to paint. At the beginning of the year when you mentioned that you are in the Air Force, my brain lit up and I knew who would be the subject of this year's piece. Your personality stood out as someone who cares about their job and how they teach,” said Beattie
“It was a refreshing contrast to paint a woman this year to represent one of the military branches. I’m very grateful I have the opportunity to end my senior year with another meaningful painting,” said Beattie.
I was extremely honored to be asked and touched that I inspired Cari’s creativity. The painting of me will be displayed at the school for the Veteran’s Day assemblies, and in March 2020, it will be entered in the VFW Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest.
The completed paintings and accompanying narratives helps to educate others about the military experience, how and where individuals can serve, and how the overall experience impacts the veteran in their daily lives and post-military service.
“I hope that my artwork evokes strong emotions out of the people who view my pieces. I have gotten a myriad of responses to how my paintings make people feel, such as happiness, relief and sadness,” said Beattie.
Communities across America host various parades, celebrations, and ceremonies to honor veterans. In addition, restaurants offer discounts to veterans and their families.