On this day in 1918, an armistice officially ended World War I, a conflict that ultimately claimed the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians. Since 1919, Americans have celebrated this day as Armistice Day, and later Veterans Day, to commemorate the service of all veterans.
It is a special day for all Americans, for whom generations of men and women made incredible sacrifices to secure the blessings of liberty. Certainly we all have friends, family members and co-workers who have served the country in the Armed Forces or are currently serving. Today, and every day, we thank them for their service!
In our little corner of the world, we cannot think of Veterans Day without remembering our friend and colleague, Nathan Denryter — known to many of our students as Mr. D.
Tragically, we lost Mr. D. to cancer in March of this year, sixth months before his 40th birthday. Mr. D, who had already given so much, had so much more to give.
Mr. D had a passion for teaching, he loved his students and they loved him. To know Nate was to love him, and to recognize the love that he had for his country — and for public service. Mr. D was a father, husband, teacher, firefighter and veteran of the Michigan Air National Guard.
Mr. D did two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan as a Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Craftsman. He put himself in harm’s way so someone else wouldn’t have to. His entire life was devoted to service above self.
Because of the pandemic, Mr. D. didn’t have a typical funeral as would have occurred not long ago when things were normal. In its place, more than a thousand people gathered in their cars at Lapeer High School to pay their respect to a man who live his life so well.
As the crowd witnessed a flyover from Selfridge Air Force Base that day, it was one last opportunity to look up to a man who all of us had been looking up to for many years.
Thank you Mr. D for representing the best of our community and country. You are forever in our hearts.
Check out this send-off ceremony for Mr. D at Seaton Elementary in 2011: