OSWEGO, NY – The entire student body turned out Monday morning to salute the flag.
The flag symbolizes all the rights the students have, including the right to an education, Principal Julie Burger told them.
“You have two weeks left of school. Your teachers are doing many, many wonderful things in the classrooms,” she said. “So, it is your job to take advantage of that right and do your very best over the last two weeks of school.”
Leighton student Eli Restuccia read a special poem for the day honoring those who served and died protecting the flag.
The special guest for the program was John Canale, and some members of his Battle of the Bulge organization. Accompanying Canale Monday were Cpl. Bill Hogan, W.O.J.G Len Lambert (a former musical director at OHS), Pfc. Len Maniccia, SSgt. Phil Pecora (a crossing guard in the district), and Sgt. Miles Becker (Vietnam).
The Oswego County “Battle of the Bulge” Veterans is among the largest gathering of soldiers from a single engagement in the nation. Today, the group also includes veterans from Afghanistan, Korea and Vietnam.
The group has been named to the New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame. They were nominated by Senator Patty Ritchie.
It’s the first time a group of veterans has been named collectively to the hall of fame, which was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.
Canale will be in Albany Tuesday to take part in a special Flag Day ceremony honoring the veterans.
He thanked the principal and Mary Lisk for the hard work she did in organizing the program.
The Oswego County Battle of the Bulge veterans helped beat back Hitler’s Ardennes Offensive during the winter of 1944-45, a campaign that Winston Churchill called “undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war,” Canale told the children.
He urged the students to use a map to locate the places these veterans fought.
The youngsters recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang God Bless America.
“What was extremely touching for me was the way these children came out and stood at attention to recite the Pledge and many of them stood with their hands over their hearts when we were singing God Bless America,” Lambert said. “They are just a terrific bunch of students.”
The New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame, created in 2005, contains biographies of veterans across our state who have been nominated by their senators.
It can be viewed online by visiting http://www.nysenate.gov/veterans-hall-of-fame