Songs, memories, honor and prayers for Veterans Day
By Patrick L. Sullivan
SALISBURY — Salisbury’s veterans were honored at two ceremonies: at Salisbury Central School (SCS) on Thursday, Nov. 10, and at Town Hall on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11.
At the SCS assembly, the students filed in and found their places on the gym floor as the veterans chatted among themselves. James Brazee (Army) and Chris Sorrell (Marine Corps) indulged in some good-natured interservice banter before SCS Principal Lisa Carter opened the ceremonies.
The entire assembly recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and the children sang “God Bless America,” led by music teacher Athena Halkiotis.
Carter read a statement from President Barack Obama, which included this:
“On Veterans Day, we salute the women and men who have proudly worn the uniform of the United States of America and the families who have served alongside them, and we affirm our sacred duty as citizens to express our enduring gratitude, both in words and in actions, for their service.”
Several children expressed their gratitude, and then each veteran took the microphone and spoke briefly.
Dick Curtis (Navy) said he spent his service between 1969 and 1972 on a ship dedicated to detecting Soviet submarines.
And Troy Ramcharran led the students in an Army cadence:
“Whoa! Whoa! Way up, way up! I want to go home!”
Wayne Neville (Navy) was next. Ramcharran handed him the microphone and Neville said, in a deadpan, “I’m not going to do that.”
The school band played a medley of the songs of the various services, and the veterans stood at the appropriate time. Air Force veterans Jerry Baldwin and Gail Clark, separated by a dozen people, waved to each other as the “Air Force Song” (aka “Off we go into the wild blue yonder”) began.
The ceremony ended with the children singing “American Tears.”
The veterans attending the SCS ceremony were:
Wayne Neville (Navy), Don Mayland (Navy), Arthur Eddy (Army), Forrest McBrearty (Army), Jerry Baldwin (Air Force), David Shillingford (British Army), Robert Sherwood (Army), Joe Rinaldi (Navy), Michael Kashmer (Navy), Marc Dittmer (Army), Chris Ohmen (Army), Chris Sorrell (Marine Corps), James Brazee (Army), Tracy Kaufman (Army), Larry Conklin (Navy), Lynn Gundlach (Army), Brian Sangster (Army), Ken Considine (Navy), Lawrence Mele (Military Police), Gail Clark (Air Force), Chris Werner (Navy) and Dick Curtis (Navy).
The Veterans Day observation at Town Hall on Veterans Day was attended by about 30 people, who watched quietly as Jason McGarry (Navy) introduced the Rev. David Sellery from St. John’s Episcopal Church, who read a simple prayer.
McGarry called the color guard of Brazee, Bill Becker (Army) and Ron Solan (Army) to attention, lowered and raised the flag, and snapped a salute.
As the brief ceremony concluded, McGarry thanked everyone and said that Veterans Day “is not about 10 percent off or a free meal.
“Always remember our veterans and what this day is all about.”
The Friday ceremony at Town Hall included Jason McGarry (Navy), James Brazee (Army), Bill Becker (Army)and Ron Solan (Army).