What a powerful assembly for the students and public! On Friday, November 9th, Central Middle School held their annual Veteran’s Day presentation!!
The gymnasium was packed with standing room only, as the assembly began. In attendance for the emotionally-moving event were parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members of CMS students and staff.
The assembly began with the Pledge of Allegiance given by Command Sargent Major Cagle. Then Mr. Fortin, school principal of CMS, introduced his first speaker, VFW Bremen Post # 2791 Commander Connor, who talked about the pride of being part of the armed forces. He also explained the history of Veteran’s Day, how it got its name and the meaning of it all.
Then retired teacher, Mr. Louis Broccolo, was called to the podium. He told stories of the people that he had spoken with over the years, from different branches of the armed services. One story that stood out was about the service man that was in Iraq. He and his troops had gone to a movie theatre.
Mr. Broccolo relayed the story as it had been told to him. He said that before the movie was shown in Iraq, the National Anthem was played. All men & women stood at attention as the song started. But then, without reason, the song stopped abruptly. Mr. Broccolo relayed his thought that if this had been at a U.S. movie theatre and this had happened, no doubt that people would have begun laughing, heckling and chaos ensuing. Not the troops. They stood at attention and waited for their country’s song to start again. It did, but for a 2nd time the song ceased. The men stood there, not a one moved. So, they stood at attention and waited for their country’s song to yet, again, restart, but this time it did not. Then over the silence, you heard sounds, however it was not heckling, nor laughter, but the sounds of the servicemen and women singing. Row by row it filtered back. They were singing the song where music left off. Once finished, they took their seats.
The powerful story was both a lesson to our students and a reminder to the adults in the audience, to love and respect our country. The students in the audience sat in silence, until the end of Mr. Broccolo’s speech, at which time the CMS students burst into wild applause.
Mr. Fortin returned to the podium, and eloquently he spoke about the personal impact that the services have in his life, and the life of his family, as his brother served our country, too. The difficult choices that faced him, and his decisions to stand by his country. Then the students and guests viewed a beautifully-assembled slideshow of service people that were family members of the CMS students and staff, some in the audience, and others that could not be there. The silence from the audience, as it played, was deafening.
Closing off the assembly Mr. Fortin called the CMS students came down from the stands. They presented handmade cards to the servicemen and women that attended the school’s assembly. That was an incredibly special moment, and surely the honored guests felt that power of it all, as did the CMS students.
After the assembly, all guests were invited to the cafetorium for a light snack and conversation. Students who had family members in attendance were also invited to spend some time with their personal guest.
The Veteran’s Day Assembly was not just a show, but a deep and emotional presentation. One that hopefully impacted each student in a positive way, as well as the honored guests that visited.
Kudos to Mr. Fortin and the staff at CMS, for an assembly well-done!