When Southington's veterans came forward to defend the need to keep Veterans Day as a holiday recognized by the schools, they were simply looking to extend a tradition honoring those who served. They never the partnership that has since developed.
Leonard Marcheselle, a veteran and former Board of Education member, said he never imagined it would grow to what it has become today.
"It's more than a partnership at this point," Marcheselle said. "It's a brotherhood."
Southington schools last week unveiled their new "Veterans Committee Mission Statement," the next step in a process that began three years ago. The statement is designed to unite students and veterans, thank military veterans for their service and help students learn more about the importance of military service in the United States.
The partnership now includes special programs that invite veterans to each of the town's schools, as well as honoring them in many other ways.
"I see tonight as an exemplar for the entire country to pay attention to, to take notice of and to do what’s right," Erardi said.
The mission statement reads as follows:
Veterans Committee Mission Statement
Lest they forget.
We, the Southington Public Schools,
join together with our community, veterans, and others
to raise awareness that there is a cost to freedom,
that there have been and are those who have paid, are paying, and will pay that cost
while wearing the uniform of our armed services
in war and in peace,
in visibility and anonymity.
These men and women deserve America’s recognition, gratitude, and honor.
Herein lies our cause:
Neither their selfless sacrifices
nor the impact they will continue to have on our lives and nation
must ever be forgotten.
Therefore, we commit ourselves:
To inform and teach students in the schools of Southington the necessary and important role of military veterans in the preservation of the Constitution of the United States of America; to preserve the individual memories and collective history of our veterans; and to foster a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation.
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