By Danni Dunlop
Branford High School students and faculty gathered together for the 18th Annual Veterans Appreciation Day yesterday morning to honor those who served and fought for the country.
Principal of BHS, Lee Panagoulias, started off the ceremony saying “As a school community, we take the time to reflect and appreciate the dedicated veterans who risked their lives and that are committed to the service to our country.”
Panagoulias then called up Salvatore Zarra, advisor for student council and master of ceremonies for the event, to introduce the veterans. The veterans each stood up one by one as they heard their names being said into the microphone to be recognized.
A couple of the veterans included were even from the BHS community. A world language teacher, Andres Wullaert and a social studies teacher, David Gruendel.
They had the chance to come up to the podium and say a few words about their experiences in the military.
Gruendel spoke about how the people’s stories are what makes this history.
“History is not just names, dates and places in a textbook,” Gruendel said. “It’s the stories that people can tell in between; That’s the true history.”
After Gruendel spoke, Wullaert then explained how much effort is put into serving for the country, traveling from country to country and that it’s all for a purpose.
“Consider yourselves [The students] lucky to be part of a history that has this opportunity; A lot of schools have the day off, I don’t necessarily agree with that,” Wullaert said. “This is what we need, for you guys to understand and to see your history books finally come to life with the men and women who seated for you.”
Zarra then welcomes one of the veterans, Elliot Hastis up front and center to say a prayer to finish off the assembly.
As the students were all sitting on the floor in front of the veterans, they were all very respectful towards him and listened to his words closely.
After the ceremony, students and classes had the chance to go down and listen more about these veteran’s experiences in the military. They had different rooms for all the different wars; Such as World War II, Vietnam War and even a separate room for the Purple Heart veterans.