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Sun., Oct. 4
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Massena Nursery School welcomes servicemen three days shy of Veterans Day


MASSENA - More than a dozen wide-eyed young children at the Massena Nursery School welcomed some American heroes to their classroom Friday morning for a pre-Veterans Day get together.

Pre-K students at the school recited the Pledge of Allegiance, presented handmade cards of appreciation and overcame some public speaking jitters to honor local servicemen three days before the United States takes a day to recognize the heroes.

School director Mollie Ledbetter, along with teachers Heidi French and JoAnn Pellegrino, had five veterans and family members come into their classroom to talk about their experience serving in the military, enjoy some coffee and donuts and interact with the four-year-olds.

“This is our fourth year. Last year was the first time though that we had the veterans come from the posts. My first year here we just did one card and we brought it down. They said, ‘You know there’s three places. Are you bringing it to all three places?’ So the next year we did the three cards and the little ceremony,” Ms. French said.

“But then I thought it would be nice if the kids could actually present the cards they made to the veterans. So then the following year I invited them and they came and this is our fourth year.

“Last year we had three veterans and then we had a couple of veterans who are family members of students. If any student has a veteran in their family, or somebody serving, they’re definitely welcome to come.”

Those honored at the school on Friday included: Francis “Bud” Byington, past commander, Amvets Post 4; Verne Drew Jr., commander, VFW 1143; Tom Macomber, past commander, American Legion Post 79; John Sipos, American Legion Post 79, Navy veteran; and Jeramy Whittling, Army veteran.

Some of the veterans had grandchildren in the class, and each of the servicemen shared stories about the numerous dangerous adventures they had around the globe.

Ms. French said that the teachers have been trying to bring attention to the importance of Monday’s holiday to the children.

“We want (the children) to realize that (the veterans) chose to make a sacrifice in order to keep us safe and that there are things we have in our lives because they’ve made that choice,” she said. “This week we worked on projects, we made flowers with the kids and we do thank you notes so that each kid draws a picture of something they’re thankful the veterans fought to save. We also have theme related books that we’re reading to go along with the flag and veterans and things like that.”

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