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Veterans Day Exercises at BPS Honor the Military

Veterans saluting Veterans were honored with patriotic songs and poems by Belmont Public Schools students and staff beginning with the Chenery Middle School followed by a visit to Butler and Burbank Elementary Schools on November 9. Bob Upton, Officer of the Day and Belmont Veterans’ Services Officer for Belmont, introduced each veteran and named their branch of service. Hearing the thunderous applause at each school as the veterans entered the school rooms, Upton noted, “You make these guys feel like rock stars, and for that we thank you.” Upton also reminded us this Veterans Day on November 11 has special meaning as the date marks 100 years since the ending of World War I.

Veterans saluting the flag The veterans represented service in three wars; Korea, Vietnam, and the War on Terror and included six branches of service; Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Army, National Guard, and the Air Force. Also taking the stage were our own service members, physical education teachers David Gonzales, who served in the British Army, and Ryan Schmitt, who is being deployed for one year beginning in February 2019 and will serve nine months in Cuba. Recently retired Butler custodian and Vietnam veteran Robert Johnson was a surprise guest who drew thunderous applause from the Butler community when he walked on the school stage.

Bob Upton, Officer of the Day and Belmont Veterans' Officer Each program opened with the Pledge of Allegiance, where the audience stood and veterans saluted, followed by poems, and patriotic songs. Student speakers at all schools helped transition through the program items. The Butler fourth grade students performed Star Spangled Banner, and grade three students Yankee Doodle under the direction of music teacher Vickie Livermore. Burbank students sang My Country ‘Tis of Thee as music teacher Kate Hayashi invited the audience to sing along by providing lyrics projected on a screen.

CMS Physical Educaton teachers David Gonzales standing, Ryan Schmitt sitting far right in active duty clothing The Chenery Winds performed Armed Forces on Parade, coordinated by music teachers Sharon Phipps and Megan Riccio, and the Chamber Singers performed In Flanders Fields, which was coordinated by choral teacher Aidan Baisile. Student speakers reminded the audiences on Veterans Day to reflect on the sacrifices made and to remember those men and women who are on active duty at locations throughout the world.

Chenery Principal Mike McAllister commented on how it is important to remember that Veterans share the same hometown as us, work in our neighborhoods, are parents or grandparents, and some even teach physical education at Chenery without students ever knowing it. “They chose to sacrifice; many of them put themselves in situation of danger or worked jobs which posed great risk to their health or happiness,” says McAllister. “You can understand why I look up to these men and women, and why I am excited to see them each year. You can understand why they deserve a celebration like this.”

Veterans saluting  Veterans saluting the flag  Bob Upton, Officer of the Day and Belmont Veterans' Officer  CMS Physical Educaton teachers David Gonzales standing, Ryan Schmitt sitting far right in active duty clothing