OBHS 3rd Annual Field of Honor Pays Tribute to Veterans
Oyster Bay High School students and staff came together to honor local veterans and active military personnel during the schools’ 3rd annual Veterans Day Field of Honor ceremony, Nov. 9.
Servicemen from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and American Veterans (AMVets) were recognized with words of gratitude and remembrance as Oyster Bay High School Principal Ms. Sharon Lasher, Assistant Principal Dr. Peter Rufa and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira each addressed the crowd at the podium. The National Anthem was performed by the Oyster Bay High School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Matthew Sisia.
Mr. Pesqueira, who advises the Interact Club with high school social studies teacher Ms. Lauren Harnick, explained how the club coordinated the Field of Honor – a display of American flags that was placed on the front lawn of the school as a symbol of appreciation for the service of our veterans. Monies raised from the purchase of the flags were donated to a veteran organization.
Also acknowledged were staff members who served in the military, including health and physical education teacher Mr. John Brush, security guard Mr. Patrick Kelly, French teacher Mr. Patrick Heusner, who was unable to attend the ceremony, and keynote speaker high school social studies teacher Mr. Robert Browne. Adding a new perspective to the ceremony were two high school juniors, Karina Paone, whose brother is currently serving in the United State Navy, and Adrianna Ceglia, whose dad was among the veterans at the ceremony. Both spoke about their experiences with having a family member serve in the military.
Karina shared that her brother, a 2016 graduate of Oyster Bay High School, recently graduated as a naval nuclear engineer and is currently serving as a naval nuclear operator on a submarine. “I am very proud of him and all he has accomplished,” Karina said. “As such, it is important to note the impact my brother’s commitment has had on our family especially absences at
holidays and Sunday morning breakfasts. My brother’s service has led me to reflect on how easy it is to take for granted the freedoms and privileges our veterans have won for us.”
Adrianna spoke of her father, James, who enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Oyster Bay High School in 1983. “After 9-11, my father heard the call to service again and enlisted for four more years as an infantry sniper in the United States Army from 2003-2007,” she said. “We are so proud of my dad for his sense of duty, dedication and service. We are so grateful to our mother for her sacrifices in allowing my father to re-enlist and raise her children on her own while my father went away for four more years. It was, after all, a family affair.”
After a moment of silence led by Mr. Pesqueira, the Wind Ensemble played “Taps” as Mr. Browne, Mr. Brush, and Mr. Kelly unveiled a red, white and blue wreath displayed in commemoration of our service men and women.
Keynote speaker Mr. Browne enlisted in the Army after graduating from college and retired from the Army Reserves after over 28 years of active and reserve service with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He said, "Growing up attending the Veterans Day Parade in New York City, I recall seeing World War I veterans in uniform proudly marching up Fifth Avenue....My father told me stories of elderly union veterans he saw from the Civil War with a somewhat slower stride walking up Fifth Avenue on Veterans Day. Sadly, both groups are no longer with us, but their example of selfless service in the military has sparked more selfless service in the military and our tradition of honoring such service has become a permanent fixture in our society on each Nov. 11. Oyster Bay High School has a very proud tradition of honoring veterans, not just on Veterans Day, but every day.”
The Field of Honor will be displayed until Nov. 21. Flags may still be purchased for $20 by contacting Mr. Pesqueira at 624-6542 or by emailing him at JPesqueira@obenschools.org.