Franklin Elementary School honored the 29 men who lost their lives due to conflict during the school's recent annual Memorial Day program.
The school began to offer Memorial Day programs at the school due to the efforts of Larry Hill, a former teacher at the school, who chaired the project to build a memorial for the people from Franklin Township who died in conflicts. Through his research, he discovered that 29 men lost their lives. During the program, each of the names of the 29 soldiers, airmen and marines are read by students.
Each class presented a portion of the program, which was filled with songs, poems, essays and speeches. Lily Fasching read her essay, "What is My Patriotic Role as a U.S. Citizen?" and kindergarten sang "Our Flag. First grade sang "We Love our Flag." and second grade sang "Thank You Veterans." Third grade sang, "This is My Country," and fourth grade sang the songs of the Armed Forces. Rachel Serfass read a poem, "Freedom is Not Free."
Guest speaker was Hill, along with three high school students, Sarah Bednar and two former Franklin Elementary students, Kelcie Smith and Katie Sabol.
Hill said that Memorial Day is a sad day because real people with real lives died. He said he has three words to help define Memorial Day: Remember, Recognition and Responsible. He said we need to remember the men and women who lost their lives and that we are responsible to give them recognition.
"These 29 young men from Franklin Township were just like you," he said. "They went to school. They looked at the same mountains that you see. They were ordinary people with dreams like you have."
Bednar said, "Thank a veteran for your freedom today. They were wonderful young men."
She added, "So many people lost so many relatives due to war. Memorial Day is a painful day for many. It's a sad day for those who died for us."
Sabol noted that for many Memorial Day is a three-day weekend, but there is more to the day than picnics, shopping and having a day off from school.
Sabol said she plays in the band and visits all of the cemeteries throughout the area to play.
"My grandfather was a World War II veteran," said Sabol. "He carried scars both physical and mental for most of his life."
Sabol also noted that one of her cousins had been deployed to Iraq, which was one of the hardest times in her life worrying about his safety.
Smith said, "So many have died and many people fail to notice Memorial Day. This day is set aside to honor the brave men and women. We should think about them every day.
Smith added, "If you know someone who has served, thank them. To all who have fallen, you will always be remembered.