Bronxville Honors Veterans with Memorial Day Ceremony

Rachel Billings, Editor and Staff Writer

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Last Friday, the Bronxville School gathered outside on the front lawn by the flagpole for the annual Memorial Day ceremony. The kindergarteners were wearing their red and blue tie-dyed shirts and their paper flag hats while several of the older students and teachers were dressed in red, white, and blue outfits. Elementary science teacher Mr. Curran even wore a cowboy hat. Despite the festivities, the Memorial day ceremony is a more serious event that is meant to acknowledge the true meaning of the national holiday.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance as the people of the United States honor the men and women who have served and are serving in the military to protect our country. Originally known as Decoration Day, the holiday was established on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War. New York was the first state to recognize it as a holiday in 1878 with many Northern states following suit, however the Southern states did not accept the holiday until after World War I. In the year 2000, a resolution was passed known as The National Moment of Remembrance that asked all Americans to pay their respects to the veterans at 3 pm on Memorial Day.

Although Bronxville ceremony begins at 9:30 am, it still honors the purpose of the holiday the way that the resolution intended. The ceremony started off with a speech by Superintendent Dr. David Quattrone, who discussed some of the soldiers from Bronxville who served in the military and introduced the Bronxville veterans who attended the service: VFW Post Commander Peter Cirrincione, Michael Fix,  Bob Foster, Carmine Gagliardi, Peter Laterza, Josh Gaccione, Joe Mamanna, American Legion Post Commander Bob McGuirl, Patrick Murphy III, Rod O’Shea, Vito Pinto, Ferdinand Rodriguez, and Guenther Rupprecht. Speeches were also given by SFl (Student Faculty Legislation) President senior Natalia Kaminski, who discussed the importance of Memorial Day, and eighth grader Tim Murray, who discussed ways in which we can aid returning veterans.

Another tradition of Bronxville’s Memorial Day ceremony is the distribution of the Women’s Service Award and the Thomas Hodgson Award to honor the memories of two Bronxville graduates; Barry Pinefield, a World War II field nurse,  and Thomas Hodgson, a soldier of the Marine Corps who died in the Korean War. The awards are given to two Bronxville sophomores who, in the words of High School Principal Ann Meyer, “best exemplifies [their] qualities” of leadership, diligence, and integrity. This year’s recipients are Fina Maldonado and Griffin Garbarini.  

The ceremony also includes the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts placing floral wreaths at the base of the flagpole and lowering the flag to half staff, as well as the high school band, directed by Sharon Slote, playing national tunes such as “America the Beautiful” and “Taps”.

In an interview with returning veteran US Marine Corps Corporal Peter Cirrincione, he described his thoughts on Memorial Day: “As an adult, I think back to my childhood, after the second World War, when the fellows [soldiers] came back, I remember how proud I was of these guys, how safe I felt… Seeing my brother coming home, seeing my neighbors come home, it was really wonderful… these fellows sacrificed their lives for us.”

Bob McGuirl, a Sergeant of the Army in the Vietnam War, also commented on the holiday: “We’re a great country because we have great people and some of those people laid down their lives and died to protect our freedoms… we can’t forget [those] people.”

Bronxville’s Memorial Day ceremony continues to honor the meaning and the importance of Memorial Day as a day of respect for our country in remembrance of the soldiers who died to protect it.

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Bronxville Honors Veterans with Memorial Day Ceremony