Veterans Day

thank you, veterans

“Thank you.” The message was said over a dozen times in John Jay Middle School’s Veterans Day assembly and conveyed non-verbally a dozen times more—in the respectful way students conversed with the visiting veterans and in the purposeful and welcoming way the entire morning was put together.  

Approximately twenty veterans gathered in the middle school cafeteria for breakfast on Friday, November 8. Each one had a student partner, in many cases his or her child or grandchild. Some veterans knew each other from the community. Others recognized where and in what branch a fellow veteran served because of the symbols on their cap or jacket and enthusiastically went over to shake hands and introduce themselves. The cammaderie was tangible.

A community welcome

Students escorted the veterans down a hallway decorated with special posters created in Homebase

"Your presence means the world to us.”

Student presentations followed. Christian Herlihy led the Pledge of Allegiance, Tucker Salazar read “Our Flag,” Alicia Degaetano read “Thank you, Veterans,” Zoe Dollar read “Women in Service,” and Jack Pryor read “Unfinished Task.”

One of the most moving parts of the assembly was a video montage of photograph of the veterans in the room as well as others related to the John Jay Middle School community, noting where and when each had served. Their careers spanned from World War II and the Gulf War to active duty. 

“My dad served in Vietnam,” said Principal Swiatowicz. “He didn’t want to talk about it. Today, we are not asking you to talk about your experiences. We just want to say thank you. Your presence means the world to us.”