News Eagle reporter
At a Veterans Day ceremony at Carlton Drake Memorial Park in Newfoundland Nov. 12, veterans joined members of the community and students from Wallenpaupack School District to recognize and remember those who have served the United States.
Phillips-Zacharias-Phillips Post 859, American Legion sponsored the service, with Post Commander Jack Sparks leading the ceremony where he jokingly apologized for the uniquely warm weather, noting that during this time of year, it is normally cold, with a few snowflakes and rain.
The Wallenpaupack area high school marching band played a few patriotic pieces and from her heart, Gloria Kaye, a Vietnam veteran sang "Proud to be an American."
Rev. Gregg Schafer said a prayer and mentioned how this was the first armistice following WWI, where no veterans from WWI are alive.
Flags and wreathes were placed for all veterans, living and deceased, to show gratitude for those who served their country. The flag that was flown at the ceremony flew over the nation’s capital on Sept. 8.
Makenna Peet, a fourth-grader at Wallenpaupack South Elementary School read her winning essay about what being an American means to her. Peet said she is proud to be an American because "the military fought for all to have freedom." With the military, Peet said, military men and women, police officers, doctors and ambulance workers all work to keep Americans safe and healthy. As an American, Peet said she is glad that people can try to "treat everyone equally and treat everyone fairly." In America, people are able to have nice families and friends with beautiful land and fair laws, she said. Peet ended with "I’ll never forget the ones who died, who gave their life for me. I’m proud to be an American."
A fifth-grader, Taleigtha Lester, said she is proud to be an American because she is able to look at the American flag, sing the Star-Spangled Banner and say the Pledge of Allegiance, which makes her "feel so proud to be an American, to be free." Americans, Lester said, have equal rights and no one is treated differently, no matter if a person is a girl or a boy. What matters though, Lester said, is that "people will treat you the same way you treat them." In America, people are not ruled by a king or a queen who could tell "us what to do every day" Lester said. Her point, she said, is that Americans are "very lucky to be free" and she is "thankful to be an American."
Major Kenneth Quinby is serving as the executive officer for the director of field logistics support at the Tobyhanna Army Depot where he manages more than 500 personnel, at camps, posts and stations around the world. Part of Quinby’s job includes providing maintenance and sustainment support to various units and world fighters who operate the sea R15 equivalent. When Sparks introduced Quinby, he said the machines Quinby uses today are quite different than that of which he used when he was in the service because the 1M1’s he used were "carried by dinosaurs."
Quinby said it is important that the Wallenpaupack students understand and realize what the ceremonies like the one they were attending are about because the students will be the next generation to "support, recognize and remember the veterans." Veterans Day and November 11 are very significant days because "the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, the battlefields in Europe fell quiet for the first time, in a long time" marking the end of World War I he said. Veterans, Quinby said, are special because they are "brave, willing to stand up and say ‘I will’ without even knowing what the ‘will’ is."
As a solider, Quinby said it is his job to protect and defend the country to keep peoples’ freedoms. Noting that he does not do the job for himself, but rather, "for each one of us." Always ready to do what is necessary, Quinby said he knows what the sacrifices are and he is ready to die if need be. "If dying is asked me, well I’ll bear the cross with honor. Because freedom, does not come free."