FF students honor veterans at event Friday

Local veterans and their families attend Fonda-Fultonville Central School District’s Veteran’s Day Celebration on Friday. From the left is Paul Miller, Kerry William, center, and John Boccus, right. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

FONDA — Fonda-Fultonville Central School District honored local veterans on Friday with a Veterans Day celebration.

The celebration featured a series of performances by the students including the high school Jazz Ensemble performing “America the Beautiful,” Brave Ringers performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, grades kindergarten through first performing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and grades three through four performing “This Land is Your Land”.

As the veterans entered the auditorium, every student and teacher stood cheering and waving flags honoring the veterans for their service to our country.

“It was excellent,” said Lew Bushey, who served in the Air Force from 1965 to 1969. “It was kind of emotional. I wasn’t use to it. You walk in and everyone stands up.”

Giving the welcoming remarks was Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio.

“I just want to thank all of our veterans. Veterans who are here with us today, veterans that could not be with us and veterans who are here in spirit,” Ciaccio said. “I want to thank you for answering the call of duty, for doing everything necessary to preserve our rights and privileges and the freedoms we have each and every day. It is because of you that we are able to live here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

There to give an address to the veterans was SFC Carl Rice. Rice, who has three daughters who attend Fonda-Fultonville schools, said he missed the Veterans Day Celebration last year because he was deployed. However, he was able to see it on Facebook.

“It’s good to see so much of the community show up for this and how well the school does really showing their respect and appreciation honoring the veterans,” Rice said. “It’s a reminder that there are still people here and organizations here showing their appreciation.”

Rice said every Veterans Day everyone questions what a veteran is and what it means to be a veteran. He said Webster’s Dictionary will define it as someone who has served in the armed forces.

“Being a veteran means you would put something as more important than yourself, you’re serving something greater than yourself,” Rice said. “You’re part of something that has great meaning and you willing to go into dangerous places and face hardships and face diversity because you love something else more than yourself. That’s something that I’m sure that all veterans in here no matter what branch of service you served in or where you served whether it’s war time or peace time.”

He said he has served over seas a couple times and leaving his daughters during that time is something hard for him to do. He said it’s something many other families have gone through as well.

“Why would I leave my beautiful girls, and my family, and my career and my friends, because some things, folks, are worth fighting for,” Rice said.

Also again this year, FFCSD raised money for the Leatherstocking Honor Flight which pays for all the expenses to send veterans to Washington D.C. to see all the war memorials.

This year the school district held a bottle drive and teachers had a dress-down day. From both fundraisers combined, the school is able to donate $500 to the Leatherstocking Honor Flight.

Veteran Harvey Herrick, who served as a Marine security guard from 1965-1969, said what the school does for veterans is “very nice.”

“This is a wonderful thing that the school does,” said veteran John Boccus. “It seems to be getting bigger every year.”

By Kerry Minor

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