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WJHS ‘partners’ with Department of Defense to honor America’s Vietnam Veterans

posted Apr 5, 2013, 8:27 AM by Fran Prentice   [ updated Apr 5, 2013, 8:28 AM ]

At its meeting on March 6th, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee listened to a report from Wells Junior High School Principal Chris Chessie.   In the report, Chessie mentioned that WJHS had been selected to be a ‘Commemorative Partner’ with the Defense Department’s Office of Commemorations in honoring American Vietnam Veterans.

Since 2007, Wells Junior High School has served as a regular stop for Wreaths Across America, a large convoy that annually carries thousands of holiday wreaths from the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington to Arlington National Cemetery and other locations. 

Prior to the convoy’s visit this past December, Chessie had applied for WJHS to become a Commemorative Partner.  The school’s application was accepted.

When Wreaths Across America visited WJHS this past December, a representative from the Secretary of Defense’s Office of Commemorations was on hand to recognize students and staff at WJHS for their dedication in honoring veterans.

During a solemn wreath laying ceremony at Ocean View Cemetery, Major General (Ret) Peter Aylward, a consultant with the Department of Defense’s Office of Commemorations, stepped forward to speak and present Principal Chessie with a commemorative flag and a certificate signed by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Our effort is to recognize all the Vietnam Veterans and their families; something that should have been done a long time ago,” said Aylward in a brief interview after the ceremony in Wells.  “But it is never too late to (offer thanks) for the service and sacrifices that the Vietnam Veterans and their families have made.  The only way we are going to get that done is by engaging the local communities.  We are very fortunate that Wells Junior High School stepped up and became a Vietnam Commemorative Partner.”

According to Chessie, the flag will now be displayed in the cafeteria at WJHS. 

“Being recognized as a commemorative partner by the Department of Defense is a great honor for our school, staff, learners and community… ”, commented Chessie in an email.  “This allows us to express our gratitude for service by the veterans of the Vietnam War.  We are grateful for their service and sacrifice for our nation.”

The year 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of America’s entry into the conflict between North and South Vietnam. America’s alliance with South Vietnam in that conflict cost 55,000 American lives.


Caption:  Major General (Ret) Peter Aylward, a consultant with the Department of Defense’s Office of Commemorations presents WJHS Principal Chris Chessie with a Commemorative Flag.  WJHS is now officially a commemorative partner with the Defense Department in honoring those Americans who served their country in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975.