St. John Neumann Catholic School students — from kindergarten through eighth grade — paid tribute to U.S. military veterans through music, dance and theater during a program in the school’s gym, 625 St. John Court, on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11.
“We’re here today as we celebrate to honor all that you have done in service to our country,” said Bridget Stempkowski, an eighth-grade student leadership member. “Thank you for being with us today and providing us the opportunity to celebrate you.”
Following a performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” by the school’s band, fellow eighth-grader Cash Fuller introduced the prayer “for our veterans.”
In the prayer, he spoke of the “worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect our country.
“We pray that You will bless them for their unselfish service and the continued service to protect our freedoms, our safety and our country’s heritage,” Fuller said. “Bless them, abundantly, for the hardships they faced and the sacrifices they made and for their many contributions to America’s (efforts) over tyranny and oppression.
“We respect them; we thank them; we honor them; we are proud of them.”
Additionally, the SNJCS choir sang patriotic songs honoring the military branches: students performed “God Bless the USA,” “Letter to an Unknown Soldier” and Irving Berlin’s song, “This is the Army, Mr. Jones.”
One of the most touching moments was when Girl Scout Troop 20663 and their leader, Mary Marlowe, presented John DiRoma, who works in the school’s maintenance department and is a Vietnam War veteran, with a quilt.
A number of veterans — mostly from the Marines, Army and Air Force — attended.
“It’s awesome,” said Adam Brach, a Marine veteran whose sons attend SJNCS. “I love the kids are learning the importance of serving their country at a young age.” Brach served from December 1998 to 2002.
“I love it,” said Marine veteran, Josh Metz. “I have two daughters here.
“This is wonderful,” said Air Force Col. Dr. Patrick O’Brien, who has grandchildren attending SJNCS.
O’Brien will be retiring from the Air Force in four months.
“I think it’s fabulous,” said Max Pope, a U.S. Army retiree and Vietnam Conflict veteran who was wounded three times in combat.
Pope is a member of the Knights of Columbus.