Re­mem­ber­ing their sac­ri­fice

Conowingo El­e­men­tary rec­og­nizes vet­er­ans

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— For many, Memo­rial Day rep­re­sents the start of sum­mer, but on Wed­nes­day, Conowingo El­e­men­tary School stu­dents took some time to re­mem­ber the day’s true pur­pose.

The school’s Memo­rial

CONOWINGO

Day re­mem­brance cer­e­mony has been a tra­di­tion for at least a decade, with stu­dents, staff, vet­er­ans and com­mu­nity mem­bers gath­er­ing in front of the school to honor and re­mem­ber those who have served and given their lives in ser­vice.

“En­joy your hot dogs and ham­burg­ers, but re­mem­ber why you have the day off,” Deb Cook, a fourth-grade teacher at the school told the stu­dents.

Cook, who or­ga­nized the cer­e­mony, told the stu­dents that her fa­ther is buried at Arlington Na­tional Cer­e­mony and en­cour­aged them to visit Arlington or an­other mil­i­tary ceme­tery to pay their re­spects, even if they don’t know the sol­diers per­son­ally.

“Re­gard­less of who they are, they de­serve our re­spect,” she said.

Dur­ing the hour-long cer­e­mony, stu­dents paid their re­spects by singing songs, read­ing po­ems and recit­ing facts about Memo­rial Day. The cer­e­mony also in- cluded a mo­ment of si­lence for those killed in action, and stu­dents were en­cour­aged to hold up pho­tos of fam­ily mem­bers who had died or couldn’t make it to the event.

The cer­e­mony con­cluded with stu­dents giv­ing flow­ers to each of the vet­er­ans in at­ten­dance.

Bill Langston, an Army vet­eran and for­mer com­man­der of the Delta, Pa., Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars post, at­tended the cer­e­mony at the in­vi­ta­tion of his nieces and neph­ews. Though this is the first year he’s at­tended the cer­e­mony, Langston said it was a nice event and a great way for the stu­dents to honor Memo­rial Day.

“I think it’s ex­tremely im­por­tant be­cause we need to get pa- tri­o­tism back in the class­room at the ear­li­est mo­ment pos­si­ble,” he said.

Sal Anello, a Ma­rine Corps vet­eran, has at­tended the cer­e­mony for the past nine years. Anello works with many stu­dents as part of the YMCA af­ter­school pro­gram at the school and said he’s al­ways im­pressed with the amount of work the stu­dents put in.

“Their re­ac­tion to what pa­tri­o­tism is goes way be­yond 110 per­cent,” he said.

Over the years, the cer­e­mony has be­come some­thing he looks for­ward to ev­ery May, Anello said.

“It makes you feel good in­side,” he said.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Conowingo El­e­men­tary School stu­dents spell out the word “free­dom” dur­ing a cer­e­mony hon­or­ing vet­er­ans.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Vet­er­ans salute as “The Star Span­gled Ban­ner” plays dur­ing a cer­e­mony at Conowingo El­e­men­tary School hon­or­ing vet­er­ans.

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