To coincide with Fleet Week, the U.S. Marine Corps paid an unforgettable visit to an excited Elwood-John H. Glenn High School on the morning of May 26. This action-packed Memorial Day celebration was facilitated by Maj. Dennis Graziosi, the commanding officer of Recruiting Station New York, and Staff Sgt. Raymond Mendocino.
An all-school assembly at the football field began with an impressive appearance by the Marine Corps Marching Band, who continued to perform traditional as well as contemporary music throughout the morning. The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon – a select 24-man unit of riflemen– then marched onto the field for a stunning display of discipline, skill and precision, provoking exclamations of wonder from the audience as they drilled their routines.
Numerous veterans – including Korean War and Vietnam War vets – and active military personnel within the Elwood community were in attendance the ceremony, receiving standing ovations from the assembled students, staff and Board of Education members.
To close out this spectacular exhibition of patriotism, two Marine Corps helicopters landed on the football field to the amazement of the excited students, who then had the opportunity to view the helicopters up close and speak with the pilots.
“On Memorial Day, we recognize and remember all of our heroic service men and women who offered the supreme sacrifice in honor of our country and the principles of our democracy,” Principal Corey McNamara told the audience. “Here at John Glenn High School, we offer tremendous gratitude to our soldiers and their families for their service and sacrifice as we honor their remembrance, not only on Memorial Day, but every day.”
“This event is an incredible way to commence the upcoming holiday,” Board of Education President James Tomeo said after thanking the veterans in attendance for their service. “Some look forward to this weekend and they think it’s the unofficial start of the summer or an opportunity to go to the stores and benefit from some sales. But what does this day and this weekend really symbolize? Back in the day, it was called Decoration Day. It was a day that Americans went to our soldiers and service members’ graves – those who paid the ultimate sacrifice – and decorated them with American flags, poppies, mementos and things that paid tribute to their sacrifice and service to our country. So, this weekend, as we’re barbecuing and spending time with our families, it’s important to reflect. And it’s important to think about who our high school is named after: astronaut and Marine John H. Glenn. He once said, ‘Love is a combination of friendship, passion and respect. We are more fulfilled when we involve ourselves in something that is bigger than who we are.’ As we embark on this weekend, let’s not forget the sacrifices of our fallen heroes.”
“We thank the U.S. Marines for helping us recognize Memorial Day and bring a tremendous amount of Elwood pride to our community today,” Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bossert said. “To our students, there are many obligations that we take very seriously when we plan your education. One of the important lessons that we want to make sure that you leave with when you graduate from John Glenn High School is to feel a sense of pride in our country. I think today is a wonderful demonstration that’ll help you to do that, and also an appreciation for those who serve. Today gives us a wonderful opportunity to say thank you for your service to so many members of our community who are veterans of the armed forces or active in the military and currently serving our country. Please take a moment to reflect today and reflect throughout the weekend.”
Lt. Gen. Brian Cavanaugh, the day’s special guest speaker, shared an important perspective on the importance of Memorial Day and talked to the students about service.
“There’s nothing better in my mind that you can do than serve your country,” he told the high schoolers. “And there's many ways you can serve. Keep your mind open to service whenever you can. I want to leave you with what was the foundation for me to change my path, the most powerful 10 two-letter words: ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’ As doors open for you and you get called to serve, just walk through those doors and know that it is in your power and your control.”
Date Added: 6/7/2023