Veterans Day

As we celebrate Veterans Day in the United States and honor those who served our country, here are some words from a veteran on The Gunnery campus, Ryan Cotter, who spoke at school meeting earlier this week:

I would like to start by thanking everyone here today not just for letting me speak to you about Veterans Day but also for welcoming me wholeheartedly into the Gunnery community. Among you students are faculty and administrators who have honorably served in the armed forces while quietly never mentioning it nor expecting any praise; they are quiet professionals whom we recognize today for their humble service to our country.

Joining the military is not always about idealism. Life circumstances happen and the military can provide opportunities for economic mobility, a pathway to citizenship, educational benefits and technical skills that are highly sought after in the civilian sector. The cost of these benefits, however, are rarely humanized and can be talked about as sterilized facts. In my case, I wasn’t ready for college, but knew an education was something I desperately wanted, so I enlisted in the Navy and then volunteered again to enter the submarine program. Continue reading

Democracy is the Rare Exception in World History

A note from Mr. Becker while he’s on the other side of the world watching the Presidential election from afar. 

Dear Gunnery Community,

I hope and trust that this finds you well. Today’s election has stirred a lot of thinking, discussion, and debate on our campus, throughout the United States, and around the world. It is strange for me to be away from school, home, and the U.S. on the eve of such a memorable moment. As such, I wanted to send this reflection.

Most of all, students, I want to emphasize that in this election cycle you’ve seen American democracy at its worst. It doesn’t have to be this way. But it will remain this way unless you decide to do something about it. While elections will always be a spectacle of some sort, they do not have to be blood sport. Ideally, an election should be an open discussion and debate about ideas, policy, leadership, the future, and history (I’ve included a couple of resources toward the end of this letter that relate to this). Instead, at least for this election, it’s come to look more and more like a football game or a boxing match. While that’s entertaining and good for ratings, it isn’t good. But the media will feed us whatever will keep us interested so we have no one to blame but ourselves—not even the major party candidates. I can’t recall who said this first, but democracies get the candidates they deserve. Both conservatives and liberals who are surprised that the populism and rhetoric, hate-filled and otherwise, of various candidates (not just Trump and Clinton but also Sanders and others) resonate with millions of Americans need to get over their surprise and find ways to engage them with a more positive, constructive message. Easier said than done, I know, but I think this will be an important theme of American politics for the next ten to twenty years, at least.

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