The Minisink Valley JROTC, high school and middle school student representatives participated in the recent “Wreaths Across America” (WWA) ceremony at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Cemetery in Otisville, where 128 veterans are laid to rest.
The cemetery is an official WAA location and hosted the ceremony for the second year, joining more than 3,100 other locations across the country for the 2022 National Wreaths Across America Day.
The ceremony was coordinated and led by local volunteers who sponsored the placement of wreaths on veteran headstones and is part of national efforts to support WAA’s mission of “Remember, Honor, Teach,” ensuring that the memory of those who served our country endures.
Participating were the JROTC, which served as the Color Guard, led by Alexis Montgomery and Skylar Stout with Major David Bruch.
Participating high school students were Nicholas Merante, Emma Pollock, Andrew Hines, James Hines, Ben Giordano, Emily Jennings, Krista Mazariegos, Fiona McElduff, and Kaitlyn McElduff.
Participating middle school students were Andrew Everle, Gabriella Merante and Vincent Galligan.
New York State Surrogate’s Court Judge and Orange County Acting Supreme Court Justice Timothy P. McElduff, Jr., who coordinated the ceremony at the Otisville Cemetery, praised students for their interest in being a part of this remembrance ceremony.
“We were honored to have, for the second year in a row, the high school JROTC along with high school and middle school students join us for this important event,” Judge McElduff said. “This event is an opportunity for all generations of our community to honor both those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and the values of our great nation. The participation of these students exemplifies these values, including that serving others gives us all purpose and that you do not have to be in the military to serve your community and country.”
WWA notes that many remembrance events happen in the fall for Veterans Day in in the spring for Memorial Day, “but our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedoms. In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We will never forget.”
See more photos on the district’s Facebook page.