Special guests added deeper meaning to the Veterans Day Ceremony at Fair Haven’s Viola L. Sickles School on Nov. 3.
Students in kindergarten through third grade were treated to a personal and educational perspective provided by active military personnel and veterans.
The ceremony began with the Presenting of Arms by Sgt. Damar Walker, USMC, NCOIC, and the Color Guard serving with Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 25 in Red Bank — Sgt. Walter Lopez, Sgt. Jonathan Mendes, and Sgt. Cornelius Thompson. Special guests, students, and school staff members then participated in the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of The Star Spangled Banner.
Introductory remarks were given by Mike Canavan, USMC, who was stationed with the Third Marine Division in Okinawa and was a member of the Expeditionary Force in the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam. Canavan is the grandfather of Sickles School Kindergarten student Booker Clark, who was at the ceremony, as well as Knollwood School fourth grade students Jack Canavan and Tatum Clark, sixth grader Matilda Clark, seventh grader Louise Canavan, and eighth grader Margaret Canavan.
“As students, you will continue to realize how fortunate we all are to live in such a beautiful country as the U.S.A.,” Canavan said. “In addition, we have earned the respect globally as the most powerful nation in the world, and for that we have to thank our active military who are represented here today as well as our nation’s veterans.”
The Keynote Address was delivered by U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Sean L. Welch, Inspector /Instructor with Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 25 in Red Bank. He was accompanied by Inspector/Instructor Sgt. Maj. Noel Dominguez and Master Gunnery Sgt. Colin Brown, both of whom also serve with CLB 25.
“This special day gives us the opportunity to stop and think about all the people who have helped us keep in mind what is most important,” Welch told the assembled crowd. “It gives us the opportunity to thank all of those who have served us in uniform — as veterans, as active military, police officers, coaches, and teachers.”
Veterans who are parents of Sickles School students were in attendance as special guests and were recognized during the ceremony. Jason Kane, who served in the U.S. Air Force, was introduced by his son Eamonn. Eric Freund, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, was introduced by his son Dashiell.
Also recognized was Sickles School third grade teacher Stephanie Frankel, whose husband is currently serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.
At the conclusion of the Veterans Day Ceremony, Taps was performed on the bugle by Lance Corporal Matthew Gorta of CLB 25.