Veterans, Students Gather for Annual Veterans Appreciation Day at BHS

Veterans of all ages came to BHS Friday to speak with students and share their stories. Photo credit: Bill O’Brien.

By James Integlia

It has become tradition at Branford High School for our country’s veterans to come and speak about their experiences each November.

Local veterans, some who are BHS graduates, share stories with students about their life in the military. “I always wanted to do it,” said Kyle Berg BHS ’05 and a member of the US Army,”It was the best thing I ever did, and it’s awesome to come back and speak. I remember when I was here, I always had respect and looked up to these guys.”

The event, which is organized by the Student Council and Horizons department, shows students the harsh reality of war and some of the sacrifices that our military personnel make. “The first thing I remembered coming home were the guys that were never coming home” said Staff Seargant George Ahern, an Air Force gunner in World War II. “Nothing can equal the loss of a front-line soldier” added Seargant William Brody, who also served in the Air Force in World War II.

“I really appreciate what the veterans have done for us,” said sophmore Geoffrey Yasevac,”They’ve made a lot of sacrifices for us.”

However, veterans did not always receive the kind of appreciation they are shown today. “I was greeted by anti-war protests,” Said Vietnam War Air Force veteran Rob Russell, “Getting called ‘baby killer’ was a big depression.” During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s many citizens opposed the war and held protests nationwide. “Things were so bad [in the U.S.], that I didn’t want to come home.” said Sgt. Major Brian Miniter, a veteran of both Vietnam and Iraq.

The event, now in it’s fifteenth year, used to be done in the spring, but in recent years was rescheduled to coincide with Veteran’s Day because Branford Schools no longer had the day off. “What better way to honor [the veterans] than to dedicate a whole day to them,” says Sal Zarra, the advisor to Student Council and master of ceremonies for the event, “If there’s something I can do to make this school a better place, I’ll jump on it.”

To further honor our Veterans there will be a parade Sunday to commemorate Veteran’s Day.  It will begin at 1:30 pm and the route will go through the Branford Center.

Veterans who attended the Veteran’s Day program at BHS pose for a photo Friday. Photo credit: Bill O’Brien.