MASSENA - Massena Central elementary schools paid tribute Friday to servicemen and women who had given their lives for their country and those who were still standing vigilantly defending freedom around the world.
At Jefferson Elementary School, the Memorial Day tribute included students placing flowers around the schools flagpole, as a flag that had raised by an honor guard from Amvets Post 4 flapped in the afternoon breeze.
As the students assembled in their classes around the flagpole, Principal Duane L. Richards said they should remember the meaning behind Memorial Day - paying tribute to U.S. men and who died in service for their country and recognizing those who were still wearing a uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces.
It is much more than a three-day weekend. Its important that you remember those who died fighting for our country, Mr. Richards said, asking students to remember their courage, selflessness and dedication.
He noted that Memorial Day for many meant visits to cemeteries. There is also a national memorial at 3 p.m. on Monday, and the flag is flown at half staff from dawn until 3 p.m. Monday.
But the men and women of the military should be remembered throughout the year and not just on designated holidays like Memorial Day, Mr. Richards said.
On Memorial Day and every day, remember those who fought to protect our freedom. This afternoon I ask you to remember all of those who gave their lives and those who are currently serving around the world, he said.
The introduction of Amvets Post 4 Honor Guard members Francis Bud Byington, James Gardner, Harry Convertini and Fred Cockayne brought applause from the students and staff, as did the playing of Taps by sixth-grader Alex Boyden and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful and My Country, Tis of Thee.
Sherry Ouimets junior kindergarten students drew another round of applause for their song, This Is America To Me.
The ceremony also included a presentation of a quilt from Cameron Buckshot of the Jefferson Kids Care group to Mr. Byington and Mr. Cockayne.
Mr. Richards said members of the group meet each week and sew blankets that can be given to others in need, such as residents of local nursing homes or the Massena Memorial Hospital Foundation. On Friday, they presented a quilt to the Amvets members who could in turn present it to someone they felt had the need for it.
Jefferson Elementary wasnt alone in commemorating Memorial Day. Similar ceremonies in Massena were also held at Madison and Nightengale elementary schools on Friday as the students prepared for their three-day holiday weekend.