Veterans Day Observed in Assembly at Wells Elementary School

Post date: Nov 14, 2012 6:48:11 PM

Wells Elementary School observed Veterans Day in a special assembly three days prior to November 11th. The assembly began with the Maine National Color Guard marching into the gym bearing flags. When the guard came to rest, students Grace Ramsdell and Braden Fazzina recited the pledge of allegiance followed by all students singing the Star Spangled Banner.

Several veterans from the York VFW Boardman Ellis Post 6977 attended. These men included Ed Benoit (Air Force /Korean War), Chuck Andrews (Navy), Ray Farnham (Army/Vietnam War), and Larry Wicker (Air Force/Vietnam War). Active member of the military, U.S Navy Lieutenant Commander Travis Joy, a parent of two WES students, also attended.

There was a skit about Veterans Day performed by students of Mrs. Bush followed by brief comments by Andrews, a retired Lt. Commander in the Navy. A flag folding display by members of the Boy Scouts (several Wells Junior High and Wells High School students) followed.

WES teacher Mrs. Cryer then spoke about students collecting for care packages to be sent to those serving in Afghanistan. Students representing various WES classrooms then carried bags stuffed with items to the foot of the stage forming an enormous display.

“Nothing means more than (receiving) a care package,” said Lt. Commander Joy, a pilot of a P3 Orion aircraft who served in Iraq. He said care packages put a “smile” on “everyone’s faces”.

Certificates of appreciation were presented to attending veterans and Lt. Commander Joy by students of Cryer. The meaning of “Taps” was explained by Assistant Principal Ken Spinney followed by the playing of Taps by Zoe Onion and Sam Bunker. This was followed by a robust singing of “You’re a Grand Old Flag”.

At the end of the assembly many students and staff lined up to shake hands with the special visitors in a receiving line.

“It was great to see the kids actually shown what Veterans Day is other than a holiday,” said Larry Wicker of the York VFW Boardman Ellis Post 6977 regarding his Veterans Day visit to WES. Wicker said that the students learned through their activities in assembly “what Veterans Day really means to them too.”

“It was an honor to host and recognize local veterans at the WES Veterans Day assembly on November 8th,” commented WES Principal Marianne Horne. “Their presence, along with the Maine National Guard Color Guard, and the Wells Junior High School and High School students' presentations made for a very impressive and educational assembly for our young students. Our goal was to ensure that Wells Elementary School children would have a better understanding of the significance of Sunday’s holiday. The assembly not only fully accomplished the goal, it also touched their hearts.”

Mrs. Horne also thanked Assistant Principal Spinney for organizing the assembly.

Caption: Korean War Veteran, Ed Benoit at Wells Elementary School on November 8th. He is holding an Associated Press photograph from the fall of 1950 showing a Douglas B26B aircraft about to take off from Japan to fly a mission over North Korea. Benoit is in the cockpit as the co-pilot and engineer. They were embarking on a mission over North Korea. When asked, Benoit acknowledged that he encountered many scary moments during his 36 missions. He added that many of his “buddies” never made it back to Japan. “That’s war you know,” said Benoit sadly. Benoit is also the Judge Advocate for his VFW Post.

Caption: WES students welcoming special guests on Veterans Day. In line are (l to r) Larry “Rusty” Wicker, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), Navy Lt. Commander Travis Joy, Chuck Andrews, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Ray Farnham, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Ed Benoit, U.S. Air Force (Ret.).

Caption: WES first grade students (l to r) Daniel, Jasmine, Cameron, and Makayla standing next to cut-outs of soldiers that they and their fellow first graders created to commemorate Veterans Day. All first grade students of Jen Abbott, Nancy Talbot, Lynn McPherson and Karen Valliere participated in this project. Cut outs, representing all branches of the military, are displayed on hallway walls in the first grade area.