November 19, 2017

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Students Host Rousing Veteran’s Day Assembly, Filled With Emotion

Last Friday, when many public schools gave students a vacation day in honor of Veterans Day, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools took a different approach. With students attending school for a full day, LOL Schools chose to honor veterans in their community in a highly respectful and meaningful morning of ceremonies that begin in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School with a hearty breakfast.  After a ceremony there, the veterans moved to the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) where, after a short reception, they were ushered into the school’s auditorium.

After a welcome by Assistant Principal Jeanne Manfredi, colors were presented and then Emma Sked led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for a moment of silence in honor of all the nation’s veterans.

Senior Emily Rivera (pictured above) gave opening remarks in which she spoke fondly of her life as the child of military parents and how her dream now is to pursue a career in the US Air Force.

Lyme-Old Lyme Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #1467 Commander Larry Olsen (right in photo above) was the first guest speaker. He described the origin of Veterans Day and spoke of his deep pride in the strength and integrity of the American military.  Olsen went on to present LOLHS student Alex Williams (left in photo above) with the Voice of Democracy Essay Award and Williams then read an excerpt from his essay.

The screening of a poignant video titled, “A Soldier’s Story,” featuring Old Lyme resident James Keenan followed. A deep hush fell over the auditorium as Keenan described his experience in World War II’s European area of operations in which he initially fought and was then captured, held under horrific conditions in a prison camp, transported in a truck packed with other prisoners almost to the point of suffocation for three long days and nights, before ultimately being liberated by the Allies.

After Brynn McGlinchey and Bella Hine had read the names of the fallen from Lyme and Old Lyme in all wars from World War I onwards, the band changed the somber tone of the proceedings when they struck up the Armed Forces Salute.  Members of each branch of the military stood when their respective part of the Salute was played.

At the end of the music, Caroline LeCour proudly stepped forward to introduce her grandfather, Morris LeCour (pictured below), who offered his own remembrances of his military service.

Following  a spirited rendition of ‘America The Beautiful’ by the combined LOLHS chorus and band, all the individual veterans present were acknowledged one by one.

The colors were retrieved and as the color guard climbed the auditorium stairs, physics teacher and US Navy veteran Glenn Elliott (pictured above) proudly saluted.

After the ceremony, Manfredi (left in photo above) took the opportunity to chat with Emily Rivera (right) and her parents, while each veteran filed out and was presented with a gift bag as a remembrance of the day.

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