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Celebrating Veterans Day
Rachelle Garbarine

 

Cardinal Gibbons observed Veterans Day on Monday with a special student-led celebration that started with music.

Immediately after school, the library media center filled with the sounds of military marches performed by Gibbons Jazz Combo Club. The student musicians played for 35 minutes as guests arrived and concluded with a rendition of the National Anthem.

Hosted by  Gibbons’ Serving Our Soldiers (SOS) Club, the annual celebration ran until 4:30 p.m. and included a reception. It brought together members of the Gibbons community who served or are now serving in the armed forces. Among them were two alumni, a parent, and an educator who shared their military service stories with attendees.

The four featured speakers were:  Alyse Dason Fleming ‘02, (Lt. Commander, Navy) Pete Guerdan ‘01, (Major, Army), Gibbons parent Richard McCue, (First Lt. Marines), and Gibbons educator Charles Martin (WWII Army Cpl.).

“Returning to Gibbons in a Navy uniform, which is quite different from the white polo and khakis I used to wear in high school, was both an honor and a privilege,” said Lt. Commander Alyse Dason Fleming ‘02. “Regardless of the uniform we wear each day, we all have the opportunity to serve our country and to be a part of something greater than ourselves.”

Planning for the program, now in its third year and open to the entire Gibbons community, took two months, according to the student leaders of SOS. They are Michael Kanaby ’21, Lucas Hurley ’20, and Greggory Pisculli ’20, and Elizabeth Horton '21.

The student leaders said it is important to have this celebration each year to honor those who have served and are serving our country.  They also used phrases like the program “sheds light on,” and “allows us to gain a greater understanding of” the hardships members of the military go through to serve our country.”

When asked how the celebration reflects the mission of Cardinal Gibbons, each said it emphasizes serving others, giving back, and leadership.

For the speakers it was an honor to share stories about their military service, especially on such a patriotic holiday. The alumni speakers also said the event provided them with an opportunity “to return home” and give back to their alma mater.

“Returning to Gibbons in a Navy uniform, which is quite different from the white polo and khakis I used to wear in high school, was both an honor and a privilege,” said Lt. Commander Alyse Dason Fleming ‘02. “Regardless of the uniform we wear each day, we all have the opportunity to serve our country and to be a part of something greater than ourselves.”

Major Peter A. Guerdan ’01 described returning to Gibbons for the Veterans Day program as a special opportunity. “It was great to see the nice additions to the building since I graduated,” he added. “But what impressed me most is the investment Gibbons is making in students, giving them opportunities to hear speakers such as these veterans, that build character.”

Leading up to the November 11 event, SOS members invited the Gibbons school community to write notes to Gibbons alumni veterans in specially-designed Veterans Day cards. Associate Director of Alumni Advancement Susan Leigh ’87 said 105 cards were mailed to alumni, representing graduation years 1952 to 2018, with all branches of the military represented.

 

 

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