DAMASCUS — The Damascus Area School Veterans Day Assembly was held this past Wednesday and was a rousing success.
This was the sixth consecutive year that Damascus has honored local veterans. The master of ceremonies, eighth grade student Rebecca Gavin, called the standing-room-only crowd to attention.
Max Kraft led Boy Scout Troop #122 and Cub Scout Pack #110 of Damascus Township in the Posting of Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Students in fourth grade sang, "The Star Spangled Banner." Later in the program they also performed other patriotic songs including "America," "Battle Cry of Freedom" and "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere."
Rachel Musetti gave a presentation entitled "Veterans Day" that explained the history and distinction between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Brett Diehl and Ally Meyer introduced the patriotic musical videos "My Name is America" and "God Bless America."
The keynote speaker was Eric Johannes. Pvt. 1st Class Johannes is a 1998 graduate of Honesdale High School. He serves as a military police officer in the United States Army.
Johannes spoke to the students about the values instilled in him by the Army, such as self-sacrifice, respect, personal courage, honesty and integrity, and the importance and application of these values in their lives. On behalf of the Damascus Area School, Student Council President Nicole Freiermuth presented Johannes with a plaque in appreciation for his service to the school and our country.
Mrs. Elaine LoCicero explained the Flag of Thanks Project. All students and staff at the Damascus Area School wrote thank you letters to unknown veterans. These letters were each attached to a piece of construction paper that formed an American flag that hung from the rafters in the gymnasium during the assembly.
These letters will then be delivered to veterans during the upcoming holiday season.
Another highlight of this year's event was the Damascus Area School Flagpole Rededication. As a tribute to former head custodian Ed Justice, the students and faculty cleaned and replanted flowers and shrubs around the flagpole.
Justice was a Vietnam veteran and a mentor to many Damascus students. Each day he would take down the flag and teach different students how to properly fold the flag. This project was planned and overseen by retired Damascus teacher, Mrs. Faye Rossi.
The third grade class also sang a number of patriotic songs including "America the Beautiful," "Anchors Aweigh," and "The Marine's Hymn." Mr. Chris Gallo, music teacher, directed all musical presentations during the assembly.
The assembly concluded with a student presentation by Lyle Galloway entitled "The Story of Taps."
This piece explained the historical significance of "Taps" and how it became prominent in the military. After Mr. Gallo performed a stirring rendition of "Taps" for a silent audience, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts retired the colors, drawing another momentous Damascus Veterans Day commemoration to a close.