Menlo News November 16, 2022

Upper School Assembly Commemorates Veterans Day

A Tribute to America’s Veterans with Emilio Simbeck ’18, Menlo Coach Bob Mead, and Menlo Parent Col. Antoine Brooks

To commemorate Veterans Day, Menlo’s Upper School held an assembly to honor those who have served in the United States military. The event opened with a heartfelt rendition of our national anthem, sung by Vietnam War vet and Menlo basketball coach Bob Mead. In a video presentation, Emilio Simbeck ’18 spoke about his journey from Menlo to the Naval Academy, then Mead and active U.S. Army Colonel Antoine Brooks—who is a current Menlo parent—took questions from Colby ’23 and Beck ’23.

Coach Mead explained to the students how being drafted at age 25—much later than his peers—was at first overwhelming, until he found his place within the 716th Military Police Battalion. This was after he had tried to make the Army band, but his sousaphone audition did not go as well as he had hoped. Mead reflected on his time in Saigon and the lifelong friends he made and lost along the way. Col. Brooks also spoke to how the military becomes your extended family. He emphasized just how many different jobs they offer beyond combat training, and noted that those interested in military service should have a strong understanding of what they want to do before heading to a recruitment office.

The assembly concluded with a performance of Taylor Swift’s “Long Live” by Carrisa ’26 and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” by Ari ’25 to honor the vets and end the assembly with a soulful display of gratitude. This Veterans Day observance honored our nation’s veterans while bringing the experience even closer to home, as the respectful students saluted members of the Menlo community who have made the sacrifice to serve their country.