Henning Happenings

Chad Koenen

On Friday we gathered to honor the sacrifices made by our veterans who have defended our country. Some served overseas, some stateside and many continue to serve in the reserves today. No one asked me, but I think it is one of the most important days of the year as we show our appreciation and gratitude for people who have essentially put their lives on hold to answer the call to serve in our Armed Forces.

I never served in the military, and I am sure those who know me are grateful I never put the lives of others at risk with a loaded gun, or for that matter, even be responsible to handle sand bags when a flood is on the horizon. To the best of my knowledge none of my close family members have served in the military, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all that veterans have done for our country.

In addition to veterans, we need to remember the sacrifices made by their families while they answer the call to serve in the military. 

A lot is expected of a spouse and children of servicemen and servicewomen to ensure everyone and everything is taken care of on the home front. Without the sacrifices made by family members, along with long periods of times apart, our soldiers would not be able to do what they do to ensure our safety back home. Anyone with children can attest to how difficult it can be to spend any time away from your children and spouse. I can only assume staying in touch with your family back home is easier today than it was in the past, but there are still difficult sacrifices being asked of our servicemen and servicewomen who cannot attend events and be at home while they are stationed abroad.

One day and a simple thank you doesn’t seem like quite enough for both veterans and their families. 

If you ask me I think we should have a new day set aside to honor the sacrifices made by the families of our servicemen and servicewomen. I realize we honor the families of our veterans on Veteran’s Day, but it seems like we could do much more to honor those who have given so much and oftentimes have asked for so little in return.

I mean if we can have National Scotch Tape Day, May Day, April Fools Day, National No Sock Day, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, as well as National Find a Rainbow Day, the very least we could have is National Honor Veterans Family Day (a smarter person could come up with a better name for it).

We want to thank our veterans, and of course their families, for all they have done both in the past as well as in the future. 

Right of passage

Every school has certain rights of passage and traditions that may seem insignificant, but are very important for our youth. 

Most people remember the annual sixth grade trip to the Minnesota capitol (I believe most schools still take sixth graders to the capitol on a field trip). There are kindergarten graduations, the first time you change classes for school and the first junior high athletic event. 

One of the more fun rights of passage for our kindergarten students in Henning is flying like an airplane during the Veteran’s Day program. Both of my daughters had the privilege of “flying” around the school gym during the Air Force service song and that tradition continues today. The smile on the faces of each of the students is priceless and what’s funny is how big of a deal it is to these students to fly around the gym.

It’s the little things in life that often mean the most and that includes running around the gym while the rest of the K-6 students singing a song each Veterans Day.

In a time of constant change, it is really nice to see this tradition continue at Henning School. It’s always one of the highlights of the Veteran’s Day program for not only the students, but those who attend the program as well.