On Friday, Nov. 8, Garrison School students, faculty, staff, parents and community members welcomed local veterans to the school grounds for a special ceremony designed to honor their service and dedication to our nation.
The 2nd annual ceremony began with a parade of the student body walking out from the school carrying flags they had each decorated to honor veterans. Students in sixth through eighth grade made the 240 flags themselves, taking time to cut the fabric and glue onto dowels before they were distributed to the younger grades. The flags were decorated to acknowledge the ceremony’s key themes of “sacrifice” and “honor.”
Garrison School Principal Stephanie Impellittiere opened the ceremony by welcoming veterans. She explained to the students how Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson to honor men and women who lost their lives during World War I.
Eighth grader Alex Mancuso played a beautiful rendition of taps and fifth grader, Sophie Stark read a poem selected for the event. Students took turns planting their flags in front of the school and school counselor and organizer of the event Michael Williams spoke about the day’s themes of sacrifice and honor and thanked and recognized veterans in attendance. The PTA handed out white carnations to each of the veterans. The students whose parents and grandparents had served were able to share a special moment with their family members as they came forward to hand them their carnations.
Following the ceremony, the veterans were invited to join the eighth grade class in the school library for a brunch sponsored by the Garrison School PTA. Eighth graders had the opportunity to meet with the veterans and learn more about their experiences.
“The eighth graders who joined the veterans for brunch were very respectful of their guests and asked lots of questions about their experiences,” Williams said. “All of today’s events were designed to help students connect with the veterans and to impress upon our local veterans how much they are appreciated by the community.”
“Our Veterans Day ceremony has become an important annual event for our students, faculty and staff,” Impellittiere said. “It is important that the children learn about the sacrifices these wonderful Americans made for our country and have the opportunity to honor them by giving thanks.”
Friday’s ceremony was planned and coordinated by the Garrison School PTA’s “Giving with Thanks” Committee of Kimberly Schauffler, Angela Smith, Kym August and teacher chair Williams. The GarrisonSchool would like to express its gratitude to all of the veterans for their service, to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department for providing traffic control for the event and to thank the parents, faculty, staff, students and community members who helped make this event possible.