NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Principal Shelley Fachini opened Friday morning's Memorial Day ceremony at Sullivan Elementary School by asking the sea of pupils why they were here.
The band, conducted by Roger LaRocca, performed American classics throughout the ceremony. For more photos, see the slideshow.
One pupil quietly responded, "To thank the people who saved our world."
The school children and staff joined the community and veterans for a ceremony that honored veterans. The classes took turns singing popular, celebratory tunes and state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, Mayor Richard Alcombright and retired Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Sellars briefly spoke to the crowded cafeteria-turned-auditorium.
"It is a pleasure, really an honor, to be here today," Sellars, who served in Iraq in 2005, said. The former commander of the Massachusetts National Guard complimented America for its citizenship, and thanked the students, staff and community for taking time to remember the veterans and soldiers stationed throughout the world.
Members of the North Adams American Legion, Post 95, were in attendance.
"It only takes one generation not to care about Memorial Day for the next to forget," Sellars said.
Anna Saldo-Burke and her third grade class did their part in perpetuating the Memorial Day spirit over the last couple months. Everyone practiced their parts amidst the MCAS exams, and kicked it into full gear over this past week.
At the ceremony, the third-grade pupils took turns introducing speakers and segueing performances. The kindergarten and first-graders sang "My Country, 'Tis Of Thee," also known as "America." The second- and third-graders teamed up to perform a medley of tunes, and the fourth- and fifth-grades sang "This Land Is Your Land" with music teacher Stacie Downey on guitar. The sixth-graders followed up with a reading of the Gettysburg Address and seventh-graders ended singing to the Dixie Chicks' song "Travelin' Soldier."
The school band, conducted by band teacher Roger LaRocca, played classics, including the "Appalachian Overture," throughout the ceremony. Fifth-grader Benjamin LaForest stole the limelight when he played
taps "Amazing Grace "on his trumpet following the moment of silence.
Linda Lemieux, VFW Post 996 Ladies' Auxiliary president, appreciated the students' effort and invited them to march at Monday's parade
, scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
"For the town and the school, you did an excellent job and we're so proud of you," Lemieux said.