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International students Amanda Phan and Vy Le attend Fresno Christian Schools through the AmeriStudent program. Both students attended the 100th annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11, and were challenged by Feather adviser and U.S. history teacher, Kori Friesen, to write about their experiences. 

Amanda Phan expresses gratitude, respect for veterans

Megan LeBlanc | The Feather Online

FC band and percussion marched in the 100th annual Veterans Day Parade along with various other groups.

His eyes, wide with sophistication, gazed at a group of young cadets as his fingers tapped rhythmically on the body of a Corvette roadster. All around, marching bands and parade squads were bustling with rehearsal, but he seemed lost in the fog of his own thoughts.

Glancing at the huge sticker on the roadster, I noticed it said “Gary Pirkig- U.S Coast Guard”. Suddenly, our eyes met. He welcomed me with a warm smile and a friendly wave. In response, I nervously attempted to come closer, and started making conversation.

Pirkig was excited for the largest parade he has ever been to. Every word he said was full of memories and respect for those that have sacrificed.

“It’s the top priority [to celebrate Veterans Day]” he said, speaking slowly, “for all veterans, whether they’re in a war or not. They’ve sacrificed all their life and their family, so all of them should get credits.”

A humble man, who had served in the military for years, was honoring not only himself, but also others. A blare noise from the sky interrupted us. Two combat air crafts flew rapidly over the parade in a cheerful applause and astonishment of the crowd. “It’s the power of freedom,” someone proudly said behind my back. 

   But freedom was in exchange for tears, blood, and lives of millions of soldiers. Veterans Day is a reminder for us that our liberty rose from the fire of war and the ashes of heroes who fell down. It took years of fighting for a moment of liberty. Thus, history and those who were part of it should never be forgotten. We keep their glory in our hearts, the country’s veterans.

Vy Le recalls new connection with veteran

It was such an opportunity for me to come to the Veterans Day celebration. It was really crowded and exciting. There were so many parades from schools, groups, there were also there were many school tours from LA, and San Francisco who came to Fresno to join and celebrate this day. While I was looking for a person to ask about how they feel and think about Veterans Day, we met Art Liscano. He was in the US Army, he also served in Vietnam, Korea, and the Japan war. I asked Art Liscano “How does he think and feel about today? Does he thinks it’s important to celebrate and remember Veterans Day, and why?”.

“It’s very important to remember those soldiers who sacrificed themselves for our freedom and peace today,” Liscano said.

Megan LeBlanc | The Feather Online

Before and during the parade, various speeches were given to honor all veterans.

Then I met CPO Gary Pirkig, he served in the U.S. Navy and in the U.S. Army for a year. Pirkig said he feels excited because this is the biggest parade.

“It’s very important to celebrate and recognize veterans for they had sacrificed themselves for our freedom,” Pirkig said, “without these brave men, we wouldn’t have this freedom.” 

I love all the parades. I love how everyone gets excited to see the parade and waves at the veterans. I saw many people from the parade while they were walking and saw the veterans sitting to the side of the street. P came to shake the veterans’s hands and say thanks to them. I didn’t know who was a veteran until people came and recognized them, then everyone started to come and shake the veteran’s hand. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen and I loved it.

For another article by a guest writer, read COLUMN: Student body president shares importance of living a purposeful life.

For more articles, read Custodians: More than a clean-up crew or Sadies 2019: Santa Cruz beach boardwalk. 

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