John C. Birdlebough High School students and staff members honored the nation’s bravest men and women by offering a special tribute in recognition of Veterans’ Day.
Local military recruiters from various branches and members of the local VFW Post 5540 honor guard graced the stage, adjacent to the fallen soldier battle cross, as student Catherine Musumeci offered touching opening remarks.
“Today, we recognize and give thanks to those who have protected and continue to protect our way of life,” she said. “Thank you to all who have served and who continue to serve.”
As the guests of honor saluted the flag and attendees stood proudly, JCB student Hannah Grabowski sang the National Anthem before a series of video clips about Veterans’ Day were played.
The crowd fell silent as Sgt. Erica Loucks, of the New York Army National Guard, recited the Soldier’s Creed, in which U.S. Army soldiers vow to be guardians of freedom and the American way of life.
Several students shared patriotic poems and the crowd collectively sang “God Bless the USA” and “God Bless America” before JCB students Dixon Ameele and Olivia Ripley presented Taps in honor of the flag that was folded for teaching assistant Katherine Lathrop, for her father who served in the military.
JCB social studies teacher Carol Blackburn, who organized the assembly, said she tears up each time she sees her father’s military photograph, which was featured in slideshow presentation, along with several other photos of JCB staff members, their families and former students who are veterans.
VFW member Bob Halstead said it was remarkable to see multiple generations come together to support those who have served and offer small gestures of appreciation.
“There’s no greater thing that can happen to a G.I. than to come home and be thanked for their service,” he said. “If you see a veteran walking in the streets, thank him for his service.”