“You don’t lose until you quit trying.”

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Living up to Anacapa School’s longstanding tradition of honoring veterans who have served our Nation, students and faculty had three exceptional opportunities this fall to connect with our national history.

The Moving Wall

On October 12, 2016, Anacapa School was again given the high honor of helping to assemble The Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall, a half sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Every time The Moving Wall has come to Santa Barbara since 1986, Anacapa School has gone to pay tribute to our fallen Americans, and the last time it came to Santa Barbara in 2012 we helped assemble it. After working all morning assembling the Wall, students were able to climb inside a Huey helicopter and hear personal stories from Veterans who flew Huey’s during the Vietnam War. Back at school, students viewed the powerful HBO documentary, Letters from Vietnam, to see real footage of the war and hear very moving letters soldiers sent home to loved ones.

Sammy Davis, Medal of Honor Recipient, Sargent First Class Sammy Davis, U.S. Army

Thanks to John Blankenship, Director of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, Anacapa School had the honor to host a presentation, the first time ever, by a Medal of Honor Recipient. Sammy Davis is a legendary Medal of Honor speaker, who has told his story to millions of Americans. Anacapa’s cozy Elliott Hall was like a living room for students and teachers to have an intimate conversation with Sammy, who is also known as “The Original Forrest Gump.” Tom Hanks portrays Sammy Davis’s wartime experiences, including receiving the Medal of Honor from President Johnson. Some of the most powerful moments of Sammy’s presentation were his sharing the motto he learned from his mother that helped him survive, “You don’t lose until you quit trying,” and the story of how he learned to play “Oh Shenandoah” on the harmonica his mother sent him. He then played the song on his harmonica and brought his powerful spirit to our hearts. Breakfast Club is always a great incubator of learning for our students, and Sammy Davis’s presentation was a 10+ once in a lifetime moment, for sure!

Veterans Day Ceremony

Each year Anacapa School has school on Veterans Day, so we can take the opportunity to honor veterans either on Campus or out in the community. For the first time ever, our whole school community went to the Santa Barbara Cemetery to honor veterans at the official Veterans Day Ceremony on November 11. The Santa Barbara Choral Society sang moving songs, including “Oh Shenandoah” and “America the Beautiful.” Sammy Davis spoke, among many other celebrated speakers. Local hero, Art Peterson, veteran of both D Day and the Battle of the Bulge, was no doubt the star of the day. Standing ramrod straight at 93, it was great to see Art again, who has spoken many times to Anacapa students and is also featured in a film made by Dillon Yuhasz (2009) on our website, http://www.anacapaschool.org/arts/digital-media/. After the ceremony, which ended with a spectacular fly over with vintage World War II aircraft, we went to the nearby chapel to see the famous murals painted by the Mexican artist, Alfredo Ramos Martinez. Art teacher, Suzie Sichi, gave a captivating story about the artist and the origin of the murals. What an amazing series of three positive and patriotic events for our students to experience this fall. Way to go Anacapa!

To see photos from these events, check out the Facebook album here.