Tears could be seen flowing from staff and family members as they watched all the students march into Tamaqua Elementary School gymnasium waving miniature flags during the annual Tamaqua Elementary School Veterans Day Celebration held Friday morning.
The celebration, which encouraged 4th and 5th grade students and staff to invite related veterans, started off with a video presentation showing a musical slide show of local veterans. Over 70 veterans were on hand during the Veterans Day celebration.
That was followed by the pledge to the flag and 'National Anthem' led by student Aaron Coccis. Second grade students then gave a visual demonstration of the 'Stars and Stripes Forever' as well as 'You're a Grand Old Flag.'
Introductions to the celebration were provided by students Mason Dolinsky, Emily Barrett, Alicen Hull and Aaron McLaughlin. Followed by singing 'We Celebrate America', fourth graders then read poems titled 'The Pride of Our Country' from students Salvatore Manganelli and Madison McGlinchey, and 'Because of You' from students Emily Titus and Pierce Demetriades.
Before the introduction of veterans via teacher Tom Murphy, who acted as MC, 'America the Beautiful' was sung to by all 5th graders to the veterans, followed by 'America' sung by third graders. Second grade students Laura Mace, Gabrielle Robb, Niko Jacoby and Ahn Griffin read poems titled Veterans Day and 'They Did Their Share,' done by Caitlin Smith, Dominic Valentine, Leah Mateyak, Randy Steigerwalt, Kayla Lutz, David Hill and Nastassia Orach.
Third graders then stood up and faced the veterans as they sang 'This is My Country.' The Preamable to the Constitution was read by fifth graders before a movie and song by the fifth graders titled 'Our Heroes Will Live On.'
Jolene Barron, who had a large role in putting the video together, stated, "It took over two months of preparation and research."
The closing consisted of many remarks of appreciation and the playing of 'Taps' by Erin Raymond and Janelle Cinicola. Music teacher Samantha Yechera, said, "I started practicing with all the students for this event at the beginning of the school year."
James Fasnacht, Assistant Principal, Tamaqua Elementary School. stated, "The program went much better than expected," adding that all the students, parents, teachers and staff made this event a success. "I was shocked with the amount of fellow veterans participating and how well organized it was," said Tim Robb, Petty Officer Third Class, Navy, 1991 to 1999.
Brian Henderson, who is still in the National Guard, praised the efforts of the students and facility, adding, "I am very impressed."
"The program was well thought out and heartfelt," stated William Hosheit, E-7, retired USN, Westerly, Rhode Island. "It was a really moving tribute to all veterans," said Carletta Brinze, Frackville. "Seeing children being able to larn and honor local veterans is truley a great thing," added, "Darlene Gerber, Tamaqua.
Jean Newtown, stated, "It was outstanding, as a retired Tamaqua school teacher, I am so proud to come back and see this heartwarming veterans program. I had tears the whole time."