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Veterans Day Greeting

November 9, 2017

On behalf of the Peabody Public Schools and its staff and students, and the Peabody School Committee and its Chair: Mayor Ted Bettencourt, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of our cherished veterans a wonderful Veterans Day.

My father flew B17’s and B 29’s in WWII, and my oldest son just retired as a Lt. Col. from a 23 year military career in the United States Air Force. He piloted KC 135’s, the “gas station in the sky”. (that gene skipped over me) I take great pride in being from a military family, honoring and respecting our flag and traditions, being strongly loyal to my country and the great and honorable ideas and ideals upon which it was founded, while recognizing that attention must be paid to ensuring that when we go astray, we are so committed to those founding ideals that corrective actions will be taken. That is our history and it is what our veterans have fought to guarantee for their generation and all generations that follow. Only the strongest of democracies could have survived the raucous sixties when African American citizens were water-cannoned in the streets for simply asking to be treated equally, when the women’s rights movement was born, and when the Vietnam War tore the country apart. We lost three great and beloved leaders to assassination and had the “free love” movement as well (that wasn’t so bad). We survived, and out of the confusion came a better America. We survived Watergate and the resignation of a President (only the greatest of democracies could force the most powerful man in the world to resign without a shot being fired: thank you free press) , 24% interest rates and runaway inflation, questionable forays into foreign lands, and President Clintons other questionable forays. Throughout these turbulent times came great pieces of legislation guaranteeing equality to classes of people who, until then, had been mis-treated, or worse, forgotten. 94-142, a federal mandate that all children with special needs would be educated was a product of the 70’s, and Title IX, guaranteeing women an equal place in American society was a product of the 70’s and its amendments into the 80’s. The need for such a law has never been more evident than today.

Thank you to all who have ensured that our way of life is able to continue and flourish. American Democracy is not neat and clean. We will always have work to do to make it better, fairer and maybe even kinder. But it is a country and system well worth fighting for; we remain the greatest country on earth and the light of liberty throughout the planet. If you do not believe that, President Trump, agree with him or not, does not want to build a “wall” to keep people in.

Herbert W. Levine, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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