On Friday, Nov. 9, the staff, students and families of Branchville Elementary School gathered for a Veterans Day ceremony to honor those who serve, and have served, the country.

The program began with an intimate reception for the honorees in the library. The veterans in attendance were then led to the cafeteria through the main hallway of the school, which was lined with kindergarten and first grade students singing a chorus of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Inside the cafeteria, a moving ceremony took place, led by Principal Keith Margolus and Branchville students, who made speeches, read poems, sang “This Land is Our Land,” and introduced loved ones, who were met with applause and thanks for their sacrifices.

“It was so rewarding to meet and take a moment to recognize the contributions of so many of our community’s loved ones at our Veteran’s Day ceremony,” said the principal. “The Branchville Elementary School was honored by the presence of true heroes today.”

Veterans in attendance were George Newman, grandfather of Nicholas Kaknevicius; Duane Johnson, grandfather of Jacob Hankla; Alan Arnowitz, grandfather of Dylan and Mya Hrabosky; John Soltesz, grandfather of Danny Soltesz; Paul Doyle, grandfather of Xavier Murray; Gregory Lobato, uncle of Brian Knox; Dan Surette, father of Kate and Nora Surette; John Salley, grandfather of Alexander Salley; John White, grandfather of Charlie Pambianchi and Brian O’Rourke, grandfather of Xavier O’Rourke.

Along with the loved ones of students were two special veterans present on the staff side. Branchville School security officer Elaine Andrews, an active member of Army Reserves, was honored, as was the principal’s father, Louis Margolus.