Tonight I was recognized for 25 years of service in my school system. It was important to me to participate in this recognition - even though many don't participate. Educators do not get recognized publicly very often - and I do think that it is an important rite that validates the years and the service.
My dad's experience in the military sets a high bar for recognizing and celebrating service. Every time he moved from one duty post to the next, or got a promotion, there was a recognition ceremony that both honored his work and celebrated his successes. The Army also celebrated and valued the family sacrifices that are part of being in a military family. My dad and mom, now retired, have plaques and pictures reflecting their years of service that serve as the framework for the story of my childhood.
I don't have pictures and plaques, but I did receive a lovely pewter tray that will grace the credenza in my office as a token for my service. And, I have years of memories of children and adults who have helped me grow as an educator and person over the last 25 year.