A soft buzz is heard as a parade of students glide seamlessly into their seats in the multipurpose room at North Main Street School in Pleasantville, NJ. It is November 12th, 9:15 am. Time for the Veterans Day Celebration. The four person ROTC color guard members Laura Santiago, Malika Dieuzil, Critianna Rojo and M. Vazquez, gathered around their commander receiving instructions for their part of the opening Veterans Day ceremony. The scraping of chairs being pushed around on stage, the tuning of instruments, and the hum of voices added to the ambience of the moment right before the band started playing their opening melody.
The celebration began as the rolling sounds of the band playing My Country Tis of Thee, rang up to the ceiling and reverberated to the back wall of the multipurpose room. The color guard marched in, and the student body, holding smaller American flags rose in unison at attention. All eyes were on a huge American flag suspended from the ceiling in the center of the room. Veteran Paul Moschetta, raised his voice, filling the room with the rousing words and melody of God Bless America.
Augustus Harmon, Deputy Mayor, for the city of Pleasantville greeted the students as young Americans and told them, “ You are blessed to have a school principal like Mrs. Teresa McGaneyGuy, because she makes sure the veterans are recognized each year.”
Veterans from all branches of the military were in attendance from new recruits to veterans of World War II. Medical Corpsman Shawn Cahill, son of Mrs. Cahill a paraprofessional at North Main Street School, advised the students, “Love your country and take care of each other.” Another veteran who spoke was Calvin Cass, husband of Mrs. Cass, a third grade teacher at North Main Street School. Mr. Cass was a graduate of West Point in 1991, spent 5 years in the military and left as a captain. He also spent time in Korea. He and Mrs. Cass, have a son in the United States Navy. Mr. Cass gave his thoughts on the question what has the military done for you.
” When you think about the military you are thinking about a team. You think about not letting your brother or sister down. So if you do your job, you are going to come home safely, and someone else is going to come home safely. Just think about doing your job, and being committed to your job. Be determined and never give up and have a winning spirit.”
The Veterans were then celebrated with poetry readings by the 2nd grade classes of Mrs. Renee Alford, Mr. Matt Barnard and Mrs, Annmarie Marigliani. The third grade classes of Mrs. Marshella Cass and Mrs. Candace Deluccia, sang the Armed Forces Military Medley whose words poetically speak to the service of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines. As the medley closed, the singers turned towards the veterans and saluted. The audience spontaneously stood, cheered and applauded. The fourth and fifth grade classes of Mr. Brian Kavanagh, Mrs. Michelle McCline, Ms Kia Allen and Ms. Rhonda Farmer presented detailed keynote presentations and thank you letters to every branch of the military.
Throughout the celebration the students sat attentively demonstrating an interest in the speakers and their classmates presentations. Mrs. McGaneyGuy, North Main Street School principal said,
“The elementary students worked hard on their presentations for today. For elementary students to be sitting still and being attentive for all this time shows real appreciation for the veterans that are here today. Thank you for keeping us safe during the good and bad times. We appreciate you and look forward to seeing you again next year.”