Veterans Hailed at Washingtonville Schools
By Eugenia Moskowitz
Veterans’ Day is always a special celebration at Washingtonville’s elementary schools, a time for students, staff, and parents to feel simultaneously proud, grateful, and humbled.
During the Little Britain Elementary School’s annual Veterans’ Day Breakfast on Nov. 9, Principal Sagrario Rudecindo-O’Neill spoke to the assembly of veterans and their families about how grateful she felt to them, especially on Election Day. “It wasn’t too long ago that I wouldn’t have had a right to cast a vote,” she said. “As a woman, a woman of color, and a first-generation immigrant, I have a voice today because of you. That wasn’t lost on me on Election Day, and I wanted to thank you for that.”
Students did the Pledge of Allegiance in both voice and sign, and a different group then assembled to sing a beautiful patriotic song with two parts done simultaneously in chorale. There was a slide show on the big screen of veterans in the Little Britain family, and a full breakfast feast donated by parents and the PTO.
Later on, at Taft Elementary School, the annual Veterans’ Day Luncheon was held to a packed cafeteria of proud Americans. Principal Christine Williams thanked the veterans for everything they sacrificed for our freedoms, and after the Pledge, the Student Council read poems about what being a veteran means, highlighting these words: It is the veteran, not the preacher/journalist/poet/lawyer/politician who has given us the freedoms of religion/press/speech/fair trial/vote. The entire first grade sang a song, a slideshow was shown of the veterans in the Taft community, and lunch was enjoyed by all, made possible by Bob Gellman and the school district’s food services department, Betty’s Country Kitchen, Brother Bruno’s, Hoffman Insurance, the PTA and parents, and the teachers and staff who guided the students in making and arranging the patriotic cards and decor.
Board of Education members and district administrators were at both events, and at both schools a White Table was on display, each element of the table symbolizing an aspect of sacrifice that active, veteran, and missing servicemen and women made and continue to make for the freedoms Americans enjoy, and the protections provided by them under which Americans thrive.
CAPTION 1 LB: The Veterans’ Day breakfast held at Little Britain Elementary School was a feast of gratitude to veteran families. Here, Elliot Ragland helped his grandpa at the buffet table. (Photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)
CAPTION 2 TA: The cafeteria at Taft Elementary School was full of proud veterans and their families on Nov. 9.
CAPTION 3 TA: Rory Wiegman-Leavey celebrated her grandpa (and grandma!) at Taft Elementary School’s Veterans’ Day Luncheon. (Photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)
CAPTION 4 TA: Taft Veterans‘ Day luncheon. (Photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)