BEMUS POINT - Students at Bemus Point Elementary School spent part of their morning learning the reason why they have a three-day weekend beginning today.
On Friday, an assembly was convened in the school's gymnasium in order to teach students the meaning behind and the significance of Veterans Day. The assembly included the singing of patriotic songs, readings from students and area servicemen expressing the meaning of Veterans Day from their individual perspectives and a flag-raising ceremony.
According to Carrie Yohe, school principal, this is the first year Bemus Point Elementary has hosted a Veterans Day assembly.
Area servicemen engage in a flag-raising ceremony outside Bemus Point Elementary School on Friday as students, teachers and parents look on. The flag raised was flown aboard a U.S. Marine Corps aircraft in Afghanistan by the brother of Carrie Yohe, school principal, earlier this year, and was sent home to her parents.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"This is something we have just started, probably because (Veterans Day) is very near and dear to me," said Yohe, whose brother is currently serving abroad as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. "To me, it's very important for students to know why they're not going to be in school on Veterans Day, and I just want to honor everybody I can. And we do have some parents that came today, which was exciting. So, I think this is going to become an annual event."
Yohe said Veterans Day has been a part of each morning announcement session this week, and students prepared for the assembly by constructing a "Wall of Honor" made from pictures and the written names of family members who have previously served or are currently serving in the military. Representatives from the Blue Star Mothers organization, of which Yohe's mother is a member, were also in attendance and encouraged students to participate in writing letters and sending gifts to soldiers currently on tour overseas.
Following the indoor portion of the assembly, attendees were invited outside to witness the raising of an American flag which was sent home from Yohe's brother in Afghanistan. According to Yohe, who read from the corresponding certificate, the flag was flown in combat during Operation Enduring Freedom on Aug. 29 aboard a KC-130 Hercules aircraft of the U.S. Marine Corps' VMGR-252 squadron.
"The significance of the flag was that it was flown aboard a particular plane in Afghanistan. And it was given to my parents from my brother, and they've given it to the school for Veterans Day," Yohe said.