Port Chester students honor veterans in unique ways
The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I — the “war to end all war.”
The conflict inspired the creation of Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day. The war officially ended at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
There are no service members now who were active participants in the first world war, however, the sacrifices of subsequent and current service members continue to be recognized on Veterans Day with celebrations throughout the country.
Two schools in Port Chester took time on Nov. 9 to celebrate the men and women in service in their communities.
At King Street School students and faculty enjoyed the annual Veterans Breakfast. The ceremony began with an assembly in the school auditorium.
Parent and emcee Bill Villanova, who served in the Coast Guard, shared the meaning of the word “patriotism,” which includes the “love and support of one’s country.”
He encouraged students: “No matter what you do, maintain a level of patriotism in all that you do.”
Mr. Villanova also shared a poem, “The Invisible Soldier,” by Sarge Lintecum. The poem tells the story of the women who also served and often go unrecognized for their sacrifice.
The celebration included special words from local dignitaries, including members of the village council of Port Chester, Mayor Richard Falanka and state Sen. Shelley Mayer.
Principal Samuel Ortiz read the names of the veterans from the King Street School family who are no longer with us before “Taps” was played.
The ceremonial portion of the event ended with the singing of “God Bless America.”
Guests were invited to stay for breakfast after the ceremony.
“I love coming down here,” said veteran Brad Anderson who visited the school from New Milford, Conn., at the invitation of his granddaughter, fifth-grader Scarlett Pimentel. “The ceremony is beautiful. It honors everybody.”
Among the guests were American Legion Post 112, Hawthorne, N.Y., members Frank Morganthaler and Joseph Gullotta. The two were not only recognized for their service but also made a special visit to Mr. Gullotta’s daughter’s third-grade classroom. They talked to students about the American flag and where the song “Taps” came from.
They also instructed students on how to properly fold an American flag. Students learned that each fold has a special meaning.
They were curious about the men’s uniforms and asked what the medals and ribbons on their uniforms meant.
The meaning of Veterans Day was also shared at Port Chester Middle School.
Members of the social studies department were inspired to create a special bulletin board for their school’s lobby. They asked students and staff who have a veteran in their family to share a photo of the individual and some brief details about their service. The images and information were displayed on a Veteran’s Wall for all to see.
Social studies teacher Teresa Florindi said there were more than 70 veterans that were part of the wall, including some staff members.
The recognition of Veterans Day at the school also included Principal Patrick Swift reading the names of service members while the band director played “Taps” during the morning announcements.
Ms. Florindi said she had heard from several staff members complimenting the display, which was put up with the help of the school PTA.
She said many teachers, not just those in her department, talked to their students about the meaning of Veterans Day and why it is celebrated.
Earlier in the week a small group of students delivered a number of letters written by PCMS students to veterans at the Montrose, V.A.