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Pine Island students honor record number of veterans

November 22, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Under sunny skies and a cool breeze, Pine Island Elementary students, teachers, faculty and staff assembled to honor Pine Island veterans Friday, Nov. 10. A record number of veterans, more than 75, attended the ceremony this year.

After the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, Principal Steven Hook welcomed everyone to the special event as the veterans from the American Legion, VFW and others were escorted by "student ambassadors" from the library to their seats in the Pavillion.

"Welcome to parents, students and our honored guests - our veterans," Hook said. "It is a privilege for us to be among America's greatness - our veterans and truly our heroes. This celebration - this program, is and should very well be our most important program, for without celebrating the sacrifices these veterans made, we don't have the opportunity perhaps to celebrate the other holidays. We are honored to recognize and celebrate those who serve, have served and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Welcome and God bless our veterans."

Article Photos

Students sing “I'm Proud to be an American.”


The veterans were handed the microphone to give their name and branch of service. Every branch of the service was represented, including veterans who had served from World War II, Korea War, Vietnam and Gulf Wars.

Several hundred parents and grandparents were in attendance as each grade, starting with the kindergarteners, sang a song about America. Several veterans had tears in their eyes.

At the conclusion of the outdoor portion, the entire student body sang "I'm Proud to be an American" as the veterans were escorted to the Media Center for lunch.

Pine Island resident and local barber Lisa Thorpe was there with her husband, Steve, and children, Aaron and Casey. Steve is a special education teacher at Ida Baker High School and a sergeant and military police officer in the U.S. Army. He will be deployed to the Middle East in April for a 1 year tour of duty.

Mario Corso is a 93-year-old World War II veteran that speaks fluent French.

"I went into the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946 and joined Gen. George S. Patton's American Third Army," Corso said. "They asked all the guys, "How'd you like to go to Rome, 'How'd you guys like to go to the French Riviera' ... so that's what we did.

"This was very nice for the school to do," Corso said. "I know the veterans really appreciate it."

"With over 70 veterans and family members in attendance at our program, we were truly humbled and honored," Hook said. "The students and staff take great pride in this program. Our students understand the importance of Veteran's Day and honoring those who served. The program and the luncheon sponsored by Bobby Holloway and Kiwanis was truly a great day for all in attendance."



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