Cherry Thankful for Our Veterans
Cherry Avenue Gives Thanks for Our VETERANS!
It may not have been the USO On The Road Show with Bob Hope, but two Cherry Avenue classes did their very best to entertain their special guests—forty-five Veterans from the community—who attended the first Veterans’ Breakfast.
This year’s Thanksgiving theme had the students examining “how we are thankful for our Veterans.” In preparation for the celebration, Nicole Teufel’s Fifth-graders and Geraldine Batterberry’s Third-graders practiced patriotic music, wrote compositions to read aloud that answered the questions: “what is a veteran?” and “what does the American flag means to me?” They even edited a video with snippets of K-2 students attempting to answer the same two questions. In addition, the students held a schoolwide fundraiser to purchase supplies for our active troops by selling paper stars for $1.
On the morning of the Veteran Breakfast, Fifth-grader Rebecca Diehl played the flute as the students processed into the auditorium behind the color guard. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Fifth-grader Ryan Von Boxel played patriotic songs on the trumpet. The lighthearted video presentation which followed had all the guests chuckling as the youngest students puzzled with the abstract concepts of freedom, the meaning of the flag, and patriotism!
Shifting to more serious tones Third-grade teacher Geraldine Batterberry quoted from the Korean War Veterans Memorial,“Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.”
Fifth-grade teacher Nicole Teufel added, “Those words apply equally to many of the World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, Gulf Wars Veterans as well. They apply to today’s active-duty service members, tomorrow’s Veterans, who are helping maintain peace throughout the world.”
“Today, it is our privilege,” Mrs. Batterberry continued, “to say thank you to all America’s Veterans, to let them know we appreciate them for their service, and honor them for their sacrifices.”
“The price of freedom is high,” Mrs. Teufel concluded. “We cannot afford to forget those willing to pay it. Today we celebrate you, America’s Veterans, for keeping this Nation the land of the free and the home of the brave.” She also announced that the students had raised $200 to buy needed supplies for troops overseas.
Select students from both grades read their thoughtful and heartwarming Thanksgiving-Project essays which told how secure they felt to be in America and showed a grasp of the sacrifice Veterans have made with their service to defend our freedoms. After, the children join their voices to sing Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American.
Responding spontaneously on behalf of the Veterans present, Army Major Joel Buffardi of the N.Y. National Guard, who is the father of two Cherry students and one who is now at the Middle School, stood up to thank the Cherry Avenue community. “Having been deployed…receiving support from schools…means a tremendous amount to the service members. So, while you are here, thanking us for our service, that service is not possible without communities that reach out; schools, churches, and the like, and families! The support that comes from the families and the communities make it all possible for those who serve.”
Immediately following the ceremony, the Veterans were invited to partake of the breakfast, including both retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Thomas Teufel, Mrs. Teufel’s husband (who served in Iraq ) and Gerard McMenamin, Mrs. Batterberry’s dad (who served in the Vietnam War).
What an amazing breakfast it was! Thanks to the generosity of PTA parents, a delicious assortment of pastries, bagels, fruit, juices, and spreads appealed to every appetite and age group.
During the feasting, veterans met veterans and shared stories with the students in an enjoyable atmosphere that satisfied the heart as well as the taste buds!