Honoring Our Veterans: It’s Elementary
By Michel McInnis Staff Reporter · June 08, 2011
Sgt. Maria Wood of the Army National Guard was given the honor of raising the flag during Brookside Elementary's Memorial Day celebration. Wood's son, Joshua Rawding is a second grade student at the school.
Honored guests looked on as a sea of red, white and blue flowed from Brookside Elementary School, in the form of students decked out for the school's annual Memorial Day tribute.
Wearing head-bands that proclaimed "Honoring Our Veterans" and augmented with a colorful drawing of a soldier in mid-salute of the Stars and Stripes, the children filed out of classrooms for the 9:15 a.m. start of Memorial Day festivities.
School Principal, Kathleen Kay, presided over opening remarks; welcoming parents and a group of special invitees, who sat in bleachers, opposite a student-crafted American flag. "We'd like to welcome the guests we have here with us today, who have graced us with their presence," Kay stated.
The special guest list included Milford School Superintendent, Robert Tremblay, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services, B.J. Cataldo and members of both the Brookside P.T.O. Board and School Council.
"We'd also like to welcome and honor Sgt. Michael Guest," Kay announced, "father of Michael Guest, a student here at Brookside." The senior Guest has been a member of the Army National Guard for 11 years and has seen a year of active duty in Iraq. Guest was joined by several other National Guard veterans who also have relatives currently attending school at Brookside, including Sgt. Maria Wood, who had the honor of raising the flag.
Wood, a Milford resident is stationed at the National Guard Headquarters on Maple St., where she works in clothing issue. Her official title is Clothing Issue Facility Property Book Non- Commissioned Officer, which she explained is a position responsible for outfitting soldiers with all the necessary equipment that goes on their uniforms. "It's a lot of responsibility," she confessed.
Sgt. Wood is relatively new to the Milford area, having relocated here from Cape Cod. "I worked down on the Cape for 15 years," she noted. "I took a promotion and the job just happened to be here (in Milford). I love it (here); there's a lot more to do than at the Cape."
Following remarks by second grade student, Felipe Guerra, Wood took her place at the flagpole, and amid the strains of the Star Spangled Banner, the colors were raised. The national anthem was followed by a rousing rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Musical selections were provided by the students and included: When Johnny Comes Marching Home, God Bless America, You're a Grand Old Flag and other patriotic selections.
Madelyn Stocha spoke on behalf of Brookside Kindergarten students, while first grade was well represented by Victoria Pires. The ceremony concluded with closing remarks from Kay and a rendition of Taps, performed by Andrew Fongillo and Natalie Tessicini, of the Milford High School Music Program.
Programs for the event also expressed gratitude to Mike Mobilia and the Memorial Day Planning Committee, while reserving a note of special gratitude for "the Americans who continue to fight for the freedom we enjoy every day".
Similar programs were also offered at Woodland Elementary School and Memorial Elementary School in observance of Memorial Day.