BERLIN - Originating as â€śArmistice Dayâ€ť in 1919, the Berlin Public School system held a ceremony in the auditorium of Berlin High School Thursday night to honor Veterans Day, with Superintendant of Schools David Erwin acting as the Master of Ceremonies.
â€śI think itâ€™s so important that you keep telling your story of your service to whoever you can speak with, family friends and others, just to let them know that youâ€™re trying to continue the good fight,â€ť said Brad Parsons of the Berlin VFW Post 10732, added 22 million veterans were in the 323 million population of the United States â€“ equal to 6.75 percent of population.
He added just under 200,000 veterans comprise the 3.5 million population of Connecticut, or 5.7 percent, before stating 16 million men and women served the U.S. during WWII, 2 million in the Korean war and more than that served in the Vietnam War. He added 2 million veterans are women and 9.1 percent of small businesses owners in the country are run by veterans.
â€śItâ€™s so importantâ€¦as we all move on, that we leave that legacy to future generations that we have with us this evening,â€ť Parsons said.
â€śAs veterans they deserve the respect and appreciation of all our citizens,â€ť Mayor Mark Kaczynski read from a proclamation given to Parsons.
Following Parsons and Kaczynski, three eighth grade students from McGee Middle School read Patriotâ€™s Pen Essays, which were chosen out of the 195 essays submitted to be read - equal to 100 percent of eighth grade students in the town, Parsons said.
â€śBecause of them a bright future for us is possible,â€ť said Bailey Backlaski, in her essay thanking teachers, parents and soldiers for the time they devote to helping others.
â€śItâ€™s all these rights and privileges that ensure freedom and opportunity to all throughout the flexible and ageless constitution that provides Americaâ€™s priceless gift to my generation,â€ť said Saige Beatman after sharing the several freedoms America has.
â€śI am truly grateful for all they have sacrificed,â€ť said Lindsey Leary, in her essay, which thanked her grandfather for serving during the Korean War.
â€śWithout historyâ€¦where would we be?â€ť said Laura Sarazin, wanting to remind attendees the good and bad parts of history, including wars, helped shape America to be what it is today.
Utilizing a drop down projection screen, Berlin High School students Sarah Cintron, A.J. Khan, Abby Larkin, Bridget MCQuillan, Jacob Neault, Jillian Parmalee, Christina Petry, Max Schlein and Khayra Webb then alternated turns presenting, â€śA Celebration of the Nations Past,â€ť which briefly described the major wars America was involved in from the Revolutionary to Operation Enduring Freedom.
Before attendees congregated in the hallway lined with hand drawn posters thanking and honoring veterans, the Berlin High School Band and Choral Singers performed the songs of the Army, Marine, Navy, Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force branches of the military as members of each branch stood during the playing of the song of the branch they served in.
â€śThe essays were a good idea,â€ť said Sharon Gorneault, whose daughter performed in the choir.
â€śIt brings back history,â€ť said Donald Geschimsky, an Air Force Veteran who served in the Korean War.
â€śIt was a really good way to say thank you to veterans,â€ť said Tia-May Summers, a freshman involved with UpBeat club at BHS, whose family served in the military.
The town will hold its official ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park on Veteranâ€™s Way.