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The Field of Honor, a project of the high school club JJ4Vets, creates an opportunity to raise awareness of and funds for America’s veterans. Friends and family may purchase a flag in honor of a veteran. These stand in precision rows on John Jay High School’s front law from Veterans Day to Thanksgiving, after which they are available for the donors to have as a keepsake.
This year’s Dedication Ceremony was held indoors due to rain.
JJ4Vets co-presidents Yoni Leiderman and Andrew Matthews opened the ceremony by welcoming veterans and other guests, followed by an a cappella performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by John Jay High School Chorale.
When the tones that mark the end of class broadcast over the school’s PA system, conductor Steven Morse and the student singers didn’t miss a beat and finished the anthem with all of its intended dignity.
New York State Senator-elect Peter Harckham, father of John Jay High School alumna and son of a combat veteran, spoke of the obligation to do more thank veterans.
Principal Dr. Steven Siciliano highlighted the Field of Honor as a vehicle for transforming patriotism into a passion for civic involvement.
Other program highlights included a portion of the poem “For the Fallen,” by Laurence Binyan, read by local veteran Geoffrey Yorke; performances by student-led groups The Notables, The Rolling Tones, and the Treble Makers; and “Taps” played by senior Kerry Naso.
The dedication ceremony culminated with members of JJ4Vets naming all one hundred of the veterans and veterans groups that the flags outside honored. Two by two the students came to the podium. One student stood watch as the other read ten names and then they switched places. One student, senior Devin Wortman, had the honor of reading three of his grandparents’ names.
“It’s good to be acknowledged,” said Kenneth Klotzkin, a retired Air Force Colonel, resident of South Salem, and grandfather to a John Jay alumni and current student.