P.S. 108 salutes veterans at special 7th annual event

Local veterans joined P.S. 108’s admistrators, faculty and staff to commemorate their 7th Annual Veterans’ Appreciation Day Celebration at the school last Friday morning.
Community News Group / Robert Wirsing

Bronx students continue to show their appreciation for our nation’s veterans at their school’s annual veterans appreciation day celebration.

Keeping with tradition, P.S. 108 held its 7th Annual Veterans Appreciation Day Celebration on Friday, November 13 in which local community leaders and veterans joined students, administrators, faculty and staff to honor our nation’s brave heroes.

The celebration began with the presentation of the flag by the Korony Color Guard and P.S. 108’s Color Guard who lead the audience in the Pledge of Alliance and in singing the National Anthem as the three-man army band, Peter Lawrence Orchestra, gave a lively musical performance throughout.

Customary segments included the ‘Pin of Appreciation’ in which students distributed American flag pins to veterans and shook their hands as well as the ‘Symbolic Table’ where 5th graders set a table reserved for POWs and MIAs in recognition of their sacrifices and memories.

This remarkable event began seven years ago when Michael Tierney, custodian engineer at P.S. 157 and formerly of P.S. 108, approached the school’s principal Charles Sperrazza about creating a program to connect young students with veterans to learn more about their nation’s history.

“This celebration has really taken on a life of its own and it keeps growing each year,” said Tierney. “Last year was the first time we incorporated the Symbolic Table and we see a lot of the veterans get choked up about it because of how emotional it is.”

“Seeing the members of the Morris Park community faithfully coming out every year to honor our veterans makes this very worthwhile as well as having our students make a commitment in acknowledging all veterans for their service to our country,” said Sperrazza.

Nearly 50 veterans attended the celebration featuring several speakers including Sperrazza; Tierney and Captain Regina Gallagher Marengo, a full commander of the U.S. Navy Seabees to discuss the importance of our veterans’ service and sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.

All were treated to the Erik Spink directed documentary, ‘The Scavenger’, detailing the tale of the veterans museum inside John Dormi & Sons Funeral Home.

Located at 1121 Morris Park Avenue, its lobby houses a room-sized museum showcasing many WWII-era military artifacts to teach history to P.S. 108 students.

Two new items were presented to curator, WWII veteran Joe Garofalo, petty officer second class for the Navy’s Seabees attached to the 4th Marine Division.

The Parent Teacher Association donated a brushed aluminium commemorative plaque displaying iconic New York Times’ WWII headlines in honor the 70th anniversary of the second world war’s ending and according to Tierney, only 300 of these plaques were ever made.

In addition, Angelo Pinto, a war historian and collector, donated a U.S. Army Medical Department Jungle First Aid Kit made specifically for soldiers serving in the Pacific theatre during WWII and contains bandages, insect repellent as well as tourniquets and lancers used to treat snake bites.

Pinto said he will donate a six-foot tall aluminium and glass display case for the veterans museum and would aid in individually labeling each artifact.

“I enjoy coming to this event every year because I feel like I am honoring my forefathers,” said Pinto. “Even though I’m not a veteran myself, my family came to this county in 1723 and served in every major war beginning with King Philip’s War and the French and Indian War. I love donating items to the veterans museum because it’s a great place for the kids and it gives them a hands on learning experience about our nation’s history.”

Garofalo shared his iconic slogan, “you are here because we went there” to remind all of the true meaning behind the day’s celebration.

The food was donated by the Patrizia’s of Woodlawn and its owner James Tierney, Michael’s brother. A beautiful blue cake emblazoned with the official seals of the U.S. armed forces was donated by Conti’s Pastry Shoppe.

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