In a patriotic spectacle of red, white and blue, Oyster Bay High School conducted it second annual Veterans Day Field of Honor ceremony to pay tribute to those who served and continue to serve our country.
Students and staff gathered on the front lawn where the Field of Honor—a collection of American flags purchased by students, staff and the community—was erected by the Interact Club and turned their attention to the front of the school. Seated there were 30 veterans from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion and AMVets association, as well as guest speaker Dr. Michael Castellano, a veteran and a board of education trustee, and Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District staff members who served in the military, including social studies teacher Robert Browne, security guard Patrick Kelly and French teacher Patrick Heusner.
“We are here today to honor and remember our local heroes who have touched countless lives in so many ways,” said assistant principal Christopher Elsesser, in his welcoming remarks. He then introduced the high school wind ensemble, under the baton of music teacher Matthew Sisia, which performed the National Anthem.
Elsesser shared with the audience the history of the three veteran organizations that were represented at the ceremony and social studies supervisor Joseph Pesqueira, who advises the Interact Club with social studies teacher Lauren Harnick, read some of the messages that were on the flags in the Field of Honor, such as “All gave some, some gave all. Thank you for your service.”
The podium was then turned over to guest speaker Castellano, who said, “As a veteran I think of all veterans who served our country and wore the uniform and made a commitment to defend our freedoms that those around the world envy today. My thoughts go to those men and women who endured much greater hardships than I did in my service and the many who faced greater challenges after they left the military and took off their uniforms. I am proud to have served our country in the military. There is this invisible thread that bonds all veterans together that we all share, and when you see a veteran in the workplace or in your community, you feel that bond, even though it is unspoken.”
During the playing of “Taps” by the wind ensemble, Browne, Kelly and Heusner followed a roped off path from the dais to the Field of Honor and unveiled a red, white and blue wreath displayed in commemoration of our service men and women.
The Field of Honor will be displayed until Nov. 23. Flags may still be purchased for $10 by contacting Pesqueira at 516-624-6542 or by emailing him at JPesqueira@obenschools.org. Proceeds from the flags will be donated to the VFW.
—Submitted by the Oyster Bay-
East Norwich Central School District