Even in an age where our country seems divided, waking up on November 11 holds the same images it has in years passed. American flags are raised, families celebrate their loved ones, friends reunite to reminisce about memories long passed, and we give thanks to those who didn’t have to but volunteered too. Every branch, every rank, and every person is honored today.

Since 1954, Veterans Day has been a national holiday to celebrate those who put their lives on the line to protect others. On Oct. 8 that year former President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed a “Veterans Day Proclamation” to insure proper observance of the holiday that seeks to honor those who risk their lives everyday to protect the foundation our country was built on.

“It’s amazing how just such a small portion of our population does take an oath and is tasked with such an enormous responsibility to protect our country and also for us to teach our current and future generations that Veterans Day is a remnant of the past.” stated Coach Chuck Fongsmouth, an Army veteran and Timber Creek assistant football coach.

In the spirit of honoring those who sacrificed so we wouldn’t have to, we talked to Fongsmouth about his experiences in the Army, how they shaped who he is today and the teacher he became.

“It’s (the military) always been a gateway for many opportunities I’ve had in my professional career before education and even after education now, and also great stories to share with my class, with my students, in my classes.” said Fongsmouth.

Choosing to join at only 17, Coach Fongsmouth expressed his deep feelings of admiration for his history in the military and others who decided the same. His memories from the times he spent serving alongside friends will last forever, and encourages his students to make important memories and friends as well.

“You don’t have any choices of who you’re teamed up with and who your buddies are. And I still keep in touch with some of the guys that I’ve had the chance to serve with.” Coach Fongsmouth shared.

Veterans Day is not only a day to wave an American flag but also a day to remember those who stepped up before us. Honor those who have sacrificed, give thanks and love to loved ones who were brave enough to fight for us.

“Veterans Day, to me, is not a sale at the grocery stores or mall. For me, it’s very personal. It’s something I’m so glad our campus is celebrating. And not just for our Veteran teachers, but also our community here.”

View a full video version of this interview below: