BRISTOL - The students at Immanuel Lutheran School showed their appreciation Friday for those who currently serve or previously served the country.
The school’s Veterans Day program featured students from pre-K to eighth grade and drew many veterans from various wars and their families to the school’s auditorium.
This is the 12th year the program has been hosted by the school and each grade had its own unique way of showing its appreciation, from special poems to patriotic songs.
Mary Aszklar, a social studies teacher at the school, has helped organize the program since it began. She said that the “kids-generated” program is “from the heart” and also explained that she began the program after the loss of her father, a World War II veteran.
“We want to show our appreciation for veterans and show them love and thanks,” Aszklar said. “We have been working in all of the classes for a couple of weeks to put this program together. Every grade is doing something to show their thanks.”
Students showed their appreciation in many unique ways. Student Gabriella Buonafede shared the history of Veterans Day with the crowd, and student Autumn White shared her thoughts on why the holiday is celebrated.
Aszklar then said to the veterans and their families who filled the auditorium that the program is to “make veterans feel loved and appreciated.” She also explained that the school is honored to have been chosen to conduct a Prisoner of War Ceremony for the first time.
The detailed, emotional ceremony was performed by former Mayor Art Ward and another veteran.
Ward said, “Before we begin today’s activities, we pause to recognize our POWs and our MIAs,” and explained to the students the reasons for the ceremony and the meaning behind it.
“Members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks. They are referred to as POWs and MIAs - we call them comrades. They are unable to be with their loved ones and their families, so we join together to pay tribute to them and to be witness to their continued absence,” Ward said to the crowd.
The school’s principal, Anne Stuhlman, Aszklar and state Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato, R-Bristol, then recognized each veteran in the crowd by announcing their names and service before the crowd gave each a round of applause.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-973-5088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @burgioBP.