Connecticut school kids know how to thank a Veteran

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Roy
  • 103rd Security Forces Squadron, UPAR
I had the privilege of attending a very special event in my new hometown of Enfield on the morning of Dec. 11, 2012.

Master Sgt. Chad Wink, 103rd Maintenance Squadron, Senior Airman Kyle Roy, 103 Civil Engineer Squadron and Brian Ellis, a 103rd Fire Fighter, were also in attendance. Edgar H. Parkman School on Weymouth Road was selected for the second year in a row to host a Wreaths Across America ceremony. The town mayor was there as well as many Board of Education members. We formed up outside the front of the school surrounded by at least 200 people. The semi pulled in with its motorcade of policemen, firemen and a veteran's biker club, and everyone cheered. The truck was full of wreaths that would be placed on gravesites Saturday, December 15.

The kids were also very excited to see service people. Also joining us were Marines, a First Sergeant from Westover Air Reserve Base and many veterans. The American Legion Posts 80 and 154 were there performing Honor Guard duties with two Enfield Police Officers. They did an excellent job as always. Senior Airman Roy and I also got to visit with one class and answered some questions for them while Master Sgt. Wink was able to visit with his daughter.

The school had a class trip to the local cemetery where they did headstone rubs of veterans' grave markers and wrote letters to the deceased and their family thanking them for their sacrifice. Six students out of 354 were chosen to read their letter aloud to the group. It was wonderful to see children who seemed to grasp the true meaning of sacrifice. And while walking the halls, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a picture and letter for Airman 1st Class Keith Mylott, 103rd Security Forces Squadron.

Also at the ceremony were five gold star families who were given a special gift and escorted by United States Marines wearing their service dress uniforms. The families were all from the Enfield area and had all lost a close family member in action recently. It was hard to watch but very beautiful.

The kids were all dressed in red, white, blue or camouflage colors. They waved their little flags and sang patriotic songs. The entire school was decorated with tributes to veterans. They truly captured the spirit of Veteran's Day and the significance of the Wreaths Across America mission. The event concluded with the haunting sound of Taps played by the American Legion, with the children singing along. It was a great experience for which I am grateful to have been invited.