The Mamaroneck School District observed Veterans Day at the Richard M. Kemper Memorial Park on Tuesday, November 10 at 3:15 pm. The after-school event was scheduled early since school would be closed the next day for Veterans Day.
Mamaroneck World War II veteran Tony Marsella opened the ceremony by leading the audience in singing “America the Beautiful.” Superintendent Paul Fried noted it was gratifying to see the large turnout of students present. He acknowledged all of the veterans who were present, asking them to stand and be recognized.
School Board President Linnet Tse spoke of her deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by American soldiers and of her father’s service as a World War II veteran. Dr. Fried and Ms. Tse both emphasized the importance of Kemper Memorial Park as a symbol of the sacrifices made to ensure the community’s safety and freedom.
MHS social studies teacher Kathleen Donnison read the poem she had written to honor America’s veterans.
Veteran’s Day Eve 2009
Our soldiers fight this day, this night, in places far from us, from home,
Too often, out of sight and mind. Our lowered flags bear witness to
The last full measure of their hope, for us, for their posterity.
Others are at home at last, with wounds we know and those unseen,
With hearts and minds forever changed, by what they know and leave unsaid.
Thus it has been, from Valley Forge to Gettysburg, to the Argonne,
From Normandy to Pork Chop Hill, Khe Sahn, Iraq, Afghganistan.
Dawn’s early light reveals the world, each hour all around the globe
In vigil for those gone before, and those whose courage marks each day.
Then night time falls on those who fight; who rest in hope of one more day.
We gather here, this eve, for you; in tribute and in memory.
We will not forget what you have done, for us, for our posterity,
Across the way our minds are filled with cause, effect, and why, what for.
But it is here that our hearts are filled with gratitude, with love and more,
And hope that morning’s light will bring you peace, a peace to end all war.
Published by permission of the author:
Kemper Memorial Park
Two other teachers, Shannon Turner Porter and Janice Landrum, read poems by Joyce Kilmer, a sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment who was killed at the Second Battle of Marne in 1918 at the age of 31. As Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe pointed out, the poet had been a Larchmont resident. A Larchmont street is named for him, and he is honored at the World War I Memorial outside Village Hall in Larchmont.
Before and after the ceremony, students congregated in the park. Hommocks students from Richard Darcy’s social studies class created rubbings of names on the Memorial for their research projects. Other students spoke with veterans gathered for the event.
The event concluded with “Taps” played by MHS tenth-grader Danny Fiddelman.