Youngsters learn about history from those who served country

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 11, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Students at Sacred Heart Catholic School didn’t get to take Friday off like their public school friends, but they didn’t seem to mind.
Instead, they paid tribute to local veterans by inviting them to their school for breakfast, mass and special ceremony in the church cemetery.
“They served our country and sacrificed a lot because they love us,” third-grader Marina Muller said.
About 50 veterans gathered at the school Friday for Veterans Day.
Principal Frank Cardelle said he was pleased with the turnout because it gives students a chance to get a firsthand account of history.
“No matter how much you read about it or how many movies you see, it’s not the same as hearing about it from someone who was there,” he said.
Third-grader Caroline Cardelle said she was excited to meet some of the veterans.
“It was very interesting to see the people who served and fought in the war,” she said. “They should be honored for serving our country.”
For many of the students, meeting a veteran was nothing new, but still just as special.
Brody Dillon and Caroline Clark have great-great grandfathers who served during World War II.
Caroline Clark said she enjoys hearing stories about his days in the Navy.
“He risked his life for our freedom,” she said. “He loves us each equally.”
Both of Claire Allen’s grandfathers were servicemen, including Army veteran and former Salisbury Mayor Sonny Allen.
“I’m just really happy that people are willing to sacrifice so much for our country,” she said. “If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have freedom and be living the way we are today.”
Fourth-grader Hannah Smith said she knows about the importance of Veterans Day because her father, Doug Smith, a Salisbury attorney, is an Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm.
“If we didn’t have men like (my father) we might as well still be part of Britain,” she said.
The students sang “God Bless America,” before placing American flags at the graves of each veteran.
Steve Teifer, chairman of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s St. Anthony of the Abbot Society, read the names the veterans aloud before a moment of silence.
Teifer said although students typically participate in the breakfast and mass, this is the first year they’ve taken part in service at the cemetery.
“It’s good to sort of get them into the mainstream to know what their ancestors did for them,” he said. “Freedom is not free and it’s good that our kids know that because sometimes they forget.
“Veterans Day is once a year, but it shouldn’t be.”
Frank Cardelle said after students at Sacred Heart recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day they sing a patriotic tune such as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
“We feel it’s important they are taught those songs throughout the year,” he said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.