MASSENA - Trinity Catholic School saluted area veterans during a special Monday morning prayer service this week.
The school holds a morning prayer service every Monday, but because theyll be closed for the Veterans Day holiday next Monday they moved the ceremony up to this week.
Veterans, in some cases accompanied by family members, were led into the schools cafeteria by Chris Daniels, who played the bagpipes as the group walked single file in front of the students and to their seats. Also on hand were students from Clarkson Universitys ROTC program.
As they entered the cafeteria, they walked past members of the American Legion Post 79 Honor Guard and Amvets Post 4 Rifle Squad, who stood next to a display that read, Our dear veterans. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.
Beneath the lettering were pictures and names of veterans who had served their country.
There was also a display of some art students had created in honor of Veterans Day, including a painting by Violet Reyes that read, Thank a soldier. Freedom and sacrifice and a Lego Army base created by Sabella Cromie.
Principal Kathy Behrens welcomed the veterans to the school.
We are so honored and privileged this morning, she said.
Many of the students were wearing red, white and blue in honor of the occasion.
You look wonderful in your red, white and blue. You look very patriotic, said Candace ONeill, who was part of a Veterans Committee at the school who coordinated Mondays thank you service.
The ceremony included a presentation on the flag by Ronald A. Faucher, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. Mr. Faucher served 27 years in the Marine Corps and retired 21 years ago, he said.
Its very important to show respect for the American flag, Ms. ONeill told the students.
Mr. Faucher noted that military honors are given to any military member who served honorably in the armed forces.
They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us by honoring our flag and our country, he said.
As members of the Amvets Post 4 Rifle Squad folded an American flag, as they would do during a military funeral, Mr. Faucher talked about the significance of the 13 steps in properly folding it.
Often at military funerals three empty cartridges are placed inside the flag to represent duty, honor and country, he said.
As part of their tribute to the veterans, Trinity students had recorded a video in which they honored men and women who had served. Pictures of the veterans flashed on the screen with thanks from a particular group, whether it was a family or Trinity Catholic School as a whole.
Ms. ONeill said they had also staged a contest in which students were asked what Veterans Day meant to them. Some responded with poems and essays, while others used art and music to share their feelings. The winners were announced Monday and they received a certificate and coupon for Dairy Queen.
As the ceremony wrapped up, Ms. ONeill told the veterans she and the students and faculty appreciated their willingness to step up for their country.
Thank you so much for your sacrifice, she said.