Buttonball honors military at Veterans' Day ceremony
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Nov. 9, 2012
Many Glastonbury schools held Veterans' Day ceremonies on Nov. 9 or Nov. 12. Buttonball Lane School invited 35 veterans to the school – each a parent, grandparent, relative or friend of one of the students.
Buttonball Principal Kent Hurlburt – himself a former Army sergeant – said the students understand what military service and being a veteran are, as it is part of their curriculum. “We spend a lot of time in class talking about the reason behind this day,” Hurlburt said. “I went to the classrooms yesterday, and they were doing Veterans' Day activities and talking about what it means.”
The flag was raised by Staff Sgt. Rob Bridgeford of both the Army and Navy, and Specialist Daniel O'Connell of the U.S. National Guard. O'Connell had returned home from Afghanistan just a few weeks prior. Musical selections honoring each branch of the military were sung by the school's Buttonball Lane Singers Before School Chorus, along with help from the student body.
Hurlburt explained how Veterans' Day grew from the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I in 1918 and became a national holiday in 1938.
Retired Army Gen. Tomm Mountz – a resident of Glastonbury and 36-year veteran of both the Army and Air Force – was the guest speaker for the event. Mountz said the men and women who have served in the military are “the fabric from which the flags are woven.” Mountz told the students that the majority of veterans no longer wear uniforms, because they have gone on to become teachers, principals, policemen, firemen, doctors and neighbors next door.
Mountz also spoke about “the greatest generation” who he said “stepped up to the plate and saved the world.”
“Whether they wear the military uniform today, or they wore it in the past many years ago,” Mountz said, “veterans represent an unwavering dedication to our way of life, and they exemplify the highest ideals for our nation. Our men and women in uniform, both past and present, have been, and are, the most powerful line of defense in all conflicts against the enemies who have set out to harm our way of life.”
Mountz encouraged the students to think of Veterans' Day as a day of honor and a day to honor those veterans. “On this day we celebrate and reflect on the past,” Mountz said. “I thank everyone who has worn the uniform for the freedom they have given us.”
Hurlburt said the ceremony was poignant for the staff and students at Buttonball, as well as to the rest of the community. “I think a day like this means a lot to the community, because not every school is in session,” Hurlburt said, “but Glastonbury chose to have this day, and this is what it produces.”