While many businesses and schools close for Veterans Day, Cheshire has for some time now charting a new way of celebrating the holiday.
Schools remain open for Veterans Day, with each one choosing to hold a specific function commemorating the occasion. At Cheshire High School, members of the B.R.A.V.E Club — Bringing Remembrance to All Veterans Everywhere — hosts an annual Veterans Day breakfast followed by a school assembly, in order to remember local veterans in the community.
“I look forward to this event every year,” said Kelsey Tehan, a junior at CHS and officer of the B.R.A.V.E Club. “It is absolutely one of my favorites, and I am especially excited that Best Buddies could join us this year.”
Best Buddies, a club at the high school dedicated to integrating students with disabilities with the rest of the student body, was in attendance for this year;s Veterans Day festivities and helped B.R.A.V.E organize the schedule for the morning.
“I think this event is incredibly important to have,” mentioned Sam Hanke, also an officer of B.R.A.V.E. “Because while we don’t get the day off like most, we spend the whole day dedicating ourselves to veterans, which is what the day is supposed to be about.”
The day began with a receiving line of applauding students greeting those veterans who came for the breakfast. Once all were inside, the veterans were seated in the Commons section of the school cafeteria with members of B.R.A.V.E and their families.
A full breakfast buffet, complete with coffee, eggs, and baked goods made by various club members, was offered. During the breakfast, members of B.R.A.V.E were encouraged to mingle and, hopefully, listen as veterans told their stories of bravery and service to the country.
“This day means so much to me,” said veteran Daniel Rogers, an instructional aide at Cheshire High School who served as a Marine during the Vietnam War, although he was never stationed in country. “The kids really show respect to us, and they learned that it’s not just about one day. It’s about respecting veterans everyday.”
While the veterans and their families enjoyed breakfast, Cheshire High School Principal Dr. Mary Gadd and Representative Liz Linehan (D-103) thanked the veterans for their service and the students of B.R.A.V.E for putting on such a well-organized event.
After breakfast, the group headed to the Thorp Auditorium for a school assembly, which focused entirely onVeterans Day. The assembly included a performance by the Cheshire High School Marching Ram Band and an acapella performance by the High School’s VIP choir. B.R.A.V.E officers Tehan and Hanke also gave speeches about the importance of Veterans Day, and the symbolism of what being a veteran means to the country.
“I am just so happy that Cheshire keeps this event alive,” mentioned Ralph Zingarella, the creator of the B.R.A.V.E club and retired Cheshire High School history teacher. “It gets bigger every year, and that’s the most important thing.”