TOWNSEND — “There’s a word I consider synonymous with veteran. The word is honor,” said former post master Tony Saboliauskas during a Veterans Day breakfast held Wednesday at North Middlesex Regional High School.
The school’s student council invited local veterans to breakfast in honor of their years spent serving our country. Appreciation was shown through song, poem and the spoken word. Eggs and bacon were just an added bonus.
Student Council President Kayla McKelvey said that they have been working for this day since September, and that this year the students had organized something new.
“We try to make it bigger and better. We’ve added the folding of the flag by two of our Student Council members who are also in Boy Scouts. And we’re actually doing a poem for each of the 13 flag folds.”
Thirteen flag folds, one for each of the original 13 colonies. Student council members Katrin Hayward, Katryna Kusmirek, Amy Jones, Grace Rowse, Margaret French, and Casey Libonate alternated the readings, while Fred Lawrence and Sean Cunningham folded the flag in hand. The boys were in Scout uniforms.
First-period social studies students were also invited to the breakfast. As they sat around the scattered cafeteria lunch tables, veterans moved about and talked to the students one-on-one.
“It feels like we’re making more of a connection,” said Chris Schott, a senior.
Unfortunately, not everyone was invited to attend. So why were the social studies classes?
One word: History.
North Middlesex senior Daniel Lewis talked about why he appreciated the event.
“It’s another way to learn a new perspective on history. Like in American history, it kind of gives you that on-battle field view of Iraq, Afghanistan and even sometimes Vietnam or World War II. This way you can learn the stories behind the people who were there.”
The breakfast commenced with a beautiful performance by the North Middlesex advanced choir. Director Michelle Blake guided the young vocalists as they thanked the veterans for “pulling them through” in a harmonious song.
The air was full of excitement, smiles filled the room and thanks were being given at every table. Even state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan and state Rep. Bob Hargraves showed up to express their appreciation.
“I want to thank all of the veterans today for what they’ve done for us, but I also want to thank North Middlesex and the student council for putting this on because this is an amazing, amazing event. I’m so proud to be here,” Sen. Flanagan said to those in attendance.
“Today is Veterans Day,” recited Rep. Hargraves. “What you want to do when you see a veteran is, say ‘thank you for your service, veterans, thank you very much.’ It’s because of your service that we’re here today.”
Hargraves told the room that the First Amendment, our freedom of speech, has been protected by the veterans in that room and by their predecessors. He said that one should never, ever forget the history of this country.
Students took the advice of Hargraves and embraced in meaningful conversation with dozens of veterans.
Veteran Clyde Freeman said that his favorite part of the day was talking to students. He told them about his past and things he had gone through during war. He loved how interested students were and how attentively they listened.
“I was telling them that in 1973, I spent 276 days under the ocean in a submarine,” said Freeman.
The VeteransDay breakfast is an annual event held at North Middlesex Regional High School. It is a tribute to our courageous men and women who have risked their lives in the name of this country. They carry a badge of honor for everything they have done.
“It’s honor that makes them the best the world has ever seen,” said Saboliauskas.