The Cost of Freedom, a Discussion with United States Veterans on November 9

World War II history has always been a strong interest of mine. When I was 14, I remember telling my mom “I need to meet and talk to a WWII veteran.” The very next day, I saw an old man wearing a WWII combat veteran hat. I thanked him for his service and told him about my interest. He offered to arrange a meeting so he could further tell me his stories. His name was Joe, and he served in the navy on a destroyer ship in the Pacific. He passed away about a year after I interviewed him. Since then I have continued to interview veterans. – Cyrus Kamkar, Mount Madonna Class of 2018

In March, Kamkar, then a twelfth grade student at Mount Madonna School (MMS), organized “Honoring the Greatest Generation,” a public panel discussion with United States veterans as part of a class project. The event was hosted by the school and attended by its middle and high school students. Interest in the discussion was strong, and on November 9, 2018, MMS will host a second event arranged and moderated by Kamkar.

“The Cost of Freedom” will be a panel discussion the U.S. service veterans through the lens of the WWII era to present day. This free event is open to the public and will take place on Friday, November 9 at 9:00am at Mount Madonna School, 491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna. Reservations are encouraged at

“At Mount Madonna School we believe in the importance of empathy and that one way to connect and empathize with others is through the power of narrative,” commented Director of Upper School Shannon Kelly. “We can learn a lot by reading about experiences but nothing is as powerful as hearing about experiences first hand. If our aim is to educate our students to be fully engaged citizens, then it is integral that they understand the sacrifices our veterans have made for this country. It is my hope that by hearing the stories of the veterans on the panel our students will have a deeper understanding of this country’s history and the positives and negatives that come with serving in the military.”

“We as citizens have an obligation in this country to honor and remember these heroes,” said Kamkar. “Our prosperity has been placed in their hands to protect. That is why I am hosting this panel discussion; to give the opportunity that so many young people do not get to have due to significant gaps between the generations. Every step we take in a free society, every movement, every breath was made possible by our veterans.

“Every freedom we have has been fought, bled and died for,” he continued. “The will to protect and preserve the ideas that shape us as Americans must continue to live on and show as a shining example for the whole world to see. We are a unique country that was formed off of a reaction to oppressive government rule, and we have successfully been consistent with those values by being the strongest enemy of tyranny and biggest preserver of freedom around the world.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville