School’s Veterans Day ceremony recognizes relatives who served

Inaugural event at Central Elementary recognizes 41 veterans

 

Central Elementary School recognized 41 veterans during its inaugural Veterans Day ceremony, where students read the names of relatives who served and planted flags for each name read. 

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Among them were two staff members: Sekini Moore, who is on the child study team and has served in the Air Force, and James Ward, a long-term substitute who served in the Marines.

“I just thought it was important for students to understand at an early age that the freedoms that they have here are a result of what our military families have put forth,” said Darlene Carlton, student council advisor and organizer of the event.

 “I think it’s important at an early age to understand.”

The list of veterans recognized included parents, cousins, uncles, grandfathers and great-grand fathers. Immediate family members who served include:

  • Christopher Banks, Navy. Father of Susanna and Peter Banks
  • Melissa Bernardin: Air Force. Mother of Madison and Quinn Bernardin
  • Ron Bernardin: Air Force. Father of Madison and Quinn Bernardin
  • David Dziengowski: Navy. Father of Edward and Peter Dziengowski
  • Jennifer Kennedy: Army. Mother of Isobel and Thomas Kennedy
  • Thomas Kennedy: Army. Father of Isobel and Thomas Kennedy
  • Louis Litman, Army. Father of Darlene Carlton
  • BJ Kraemer: Army. Father of Avery and Trey Kraemer
  • Jim Mahady, Marines. Father of Finn Mahady
  • Penelope Sigloch: Marines. Sister of Asher Sigloch
  • Dave Mandruck: Marines. Stepfather of Asher Sigloch
  • Jason Shames: Air Force. Father of Luke Shames

Students were responsible for presenting the names and sending invitations to guests such as the board of education, faculty and members of veterans organizations. The flags were donated by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, and will likely remain up until winter break. 

Carlton and Principal Shannon Simkus would like to continue the tradition in future years.

Ward, who served about 28 years with the Marines and reserves, explained that the technical definition of veteran is “serving honorably for 180 days on active duty.” While some veterans enlist for a set period of time, others continue to make it their full careers.

“Active duty [is] what you do every day,” Ward explained. “ … Active duty isn’t the same as combat; active duty means that’s your job for the month.”

To him, a veteran is someone who at some point in signed a blank check made out to the United States of America for any amount, up to and including his or her life.

“When you do this, you don’t know where you’ll be,” Ward noted. “You could be in harm’s way or you could be on the Army tennis team. 

“You just don’t know.”

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