MASSENA - One by one, students at Jefferson Elementary School placed flowers at the base of the schools flagpole on Thursday, a reminder about the true meaning of Memorial Day, the annual event commemorated on the last Monday of May.
Memorial Day is much more than an extra day off, Principal Duane Richards told the students who assembled outside of the school for a ceremony to commemorate those who had given their lives for the country.
The ceremony, which lasted about a half hour, included the playing of Taps by sixth-grader Cooper Paquin and the singing of the National Anthem and My Country Tis of Thee by student Megan Eddy.
Taps is the name of a musical piece sounded at dusk and at funerals, particularly by the U.S. military. It is also sounded during flag ceremonies, generally on bugle or trumpet. I would ask that, as Cooper plays Taps, your all quietly remember all those that have given their lives for us through military services. I also ask you to remember those that are currently putting their lives on the line around the world, Mr. Richards said.
The schools junior kindergarten also performed the patriotic song, This is America to Me, and Jefferson Kids Care representatives Justin Perry, Rebecca Miller and Mackenzie Laclair presented hand-made blankets to Ronald A. Faucher, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel.
The Jefferson Kids Care group meets once each week to quilt, sew, knit and crochet blankets. These blankets are sewn with care and given to those that are in need. These students would like to present Mr. Faucher with special patriotic blankets so that they can give them to a military veteran than may need some comfort, Mr. Richards said.
On behalf of the Amvets, American Legion and VFW, I thank you very much for these blankets, Mr. Faucher said.
He noted that veterans are now able to use a veterans home owned by Operation Grateful Nation, on the St. Lawrence River. The charity was founded by John and Resa Wing, formerly of Norfolk and Louisville and now residing in Texas, who gave their St. Lawrence River estate at 407 state Route 131 to OGN.
If we dont give them to nursing homes (for veteran use), well put them out there, so everybody will know where those blankets came from, he said.
Mr. Richards reminded the students what Memorial Day was all about and asked them to remember those who served and died in the military.
Memorial Day is a special day when the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered. It is a day that we set aside to remember and honor in some way all of the heroes that have given their lives so that we can be safe, he said.
On Memorial Day, Mr. Richards noted, Many people visit cemeteries to honor those who have died in military service. Others will place an American flag on a veterans grave. Flags are flown at half-staff, people march in parades and families gather together.
It was a time to remember the sacrifices of others, he said.
On Memorial Day we remember the men and women who have honorably served our country throughout history. We remember their courage, their selflessness and their dedication. We remember the hardship, the suffering and the sacrifice they endured, he said. On Memorial Day and every day, we remember with respect those who have fought to defend our country and protect our freedoms. We salute our countrys brave and honorable veterans.