Local events honoring military personnel looked different this Veterans Day, but the message of reverence and gratitude was still evident.
At the district’s three elementary schools, virtual Veterans Day presentations and videos took the place of annual in-person assemblies and receptions. School children were asked to submit names and photos of veterans in their families for a special video tribute, including parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents, cousins, and other relatives who served.
Students at North Royalton High School performed a range of special projects, depending on their grade level and coursework. Middle schoolers have learned lessons in history classes.
“At the high school, teachers provide a variety of different activities that recognize Veterans on Veterans Day and educate our students on what it means to sacrifice through service to our country,” said Principal Sean Osborne in an email.
Examples of their work included writing family histories of military service, watching programs of wounded warriors and hearing their personal accounts of service and sacrifice, analyzing documents from soldiers involved in conflicts, and viewing videos of veterans speaking about why they chose to serve.
“We are planning on including our Veterans in our Chapel service virtually for prayer. In addition, we are encouraging our whole school community to partner with Operation Gratitude for an online letter writing campaign (linked here: https://www.veteransunited.com/operation-gratitude/) to encourage, pray for, and uplift those members of our armed forces currently serving,” said Heidi Malone, Principal at Royal Redeemer Lutheran School.
Students at Saint Albert the Great at Assumption Academy in neighboring Broadview Heights hosted a “Drive Through Veterans Day Celebration” that invited veterans to drive their vehicles through the school parking lot to receive greetings from students and a boxed lunch-to-go. Included with their boxed lunch were poems and artwork created by students thanking them for their service.
For those attending Saint Albert the Great School in North Royalton, the annual Military Salute event went virtual as well, with a livestream of mass and a special video presentation, said teacher Barb Barbo. The video presentation was produced by Instructional Technology Consultant Cheryl D’Amico and included student illustrations, recitations of poems, patriotic music, prayers, and scrolling images of veteran service pictures and photos of scholarship recipients, among other moving tributes.
“Sixth-grade teachers, Melanie Miller and Karen Lamson, guided the students as they interviewed their military contacts, wrote an essay about their service, and studied about Veterans Day and United States wars,” Barbo said in an emailed interview. “The mass included a passage about St. Martin, the patron saint of soldiers, and a presentation of quilts made by the Quilt of Valor Ministry to veteran parents: Air Force Captain Timothy Ferlin (ret) and Marine Corps Sergeant Nathan Myers (ret). Pastor Edward Estok blessed the quilts, the recipients and their families, on behalf of the grateful parish community.”
A school-wide collection of donations for troops and veterans was also performed, along with a special dress-down day benefiting the Ohio Veterans Relief Organization.
“Students also decorated cards and pictures to be sent in holiday boxes of cheer for our troops,” Barbo said. “The Lady’s Rosary Guild made more than 240 rosaries for the holiday boxes. These efforts are even more important in these difficult times, as we gratefully honor our brave Veterans who have sacrificed for our freedoms.”
Principal Ed Vittardi addressed those gathered for church.
“We stagger at the eternal debt we owe to our veterans who chose to set aside their personal ambitions and dreams to assure the well-being of our great nation,” he said in his address. “We are indeed the beneficiaries of those who made tremendous sacrifices for the advancement and surety of our liberty. May we always be humbly grateful to those brave American patriots who suffered and sacrificed for the glory of God and for the freedom of all Americans. To our Veterans we have a simple yet heartfelt message from a very grateful Saint Albert school and parish community: thank you, thank you, thank you for your unwavering service in peacetime and war here in this nation and throughout the world.”
Contributing Writer