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Multiple generations of military veterans talk among each other during the annual Memorial Day ceremony held at Sullivan Elementary School in North Adams.
Saturday May 25, 2013

NORTH ADAMS -- Col. Michael Morgan of the 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard was able to stand before a packed cafeteria at Sullivan Elementary School on Friday and experience a moment he never had in his childhood -- a schoolwide observance of Memorial Day.

"When I was your age, we didn’t have this in my school, which is unfortunate. Now, more and more, I see that [schools] are doing this," he said.

His speech included the story and lessons behind the iconic image, "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima," taken on Feb. 23, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal.

Morgan was among more than 20 distinguished guests -- including military veterans, members of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, city and school officials -- to attend the annual "Celebration of Remembrance" at the school, which is organized and emceed by Anna Saldo-Burke and her third-grade class.

This year’s program was dedicated in memory of U.S. Army Spc. Michael R. DeMarsico II, an alumnus of the school who was killed in August 2012 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, a few months shy of his 21st birthday.

His father and mother, Michael and Lisa DeMarsico, and his siblings were in attendance.

"He went to school here. He was [one of] those little ones here, and he’ll never be forgotten.


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We know that, because of what they do here. The kids keep me going," Lisa DeMarsico said.

The family and legacy was also honored by the multiple generations of veterans in attendance, whose service ranged from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The American Legion Color Guard from Post 152 of Williamstown carried banners proudly for all to see and to remember.

Drury High School eighth-grader William Galipeau read "The Gettysburg Address," and said he was proud to be able to participate.

"I think what they do here is important, so we don’t forget," Galipeau said.

Principal Shelley Fachini said all year long, students take time to learn about their country’s history of gaining independence and fighting for freedom.

"There are deep roots of patriotism here," she said.

Students from the Sullivan School Band learn and perform patriotic pieces of music, under the direction of Roger LaRocca Jr. Thirteen students from the school earned ranks this year from a regional essay contest sponsored by a local veterans agency.

On Friday, members of Sullivan’s sixth and seventh grades recited an original poem, "We Remember," written by students in grades 5 through 7 from Wendy Nelson’s After School Poetry Class. The conclusion of the poem reads:

Where would we be without your courageous souls?

The miraculous country we live in would be a shadow of itself

You’ve protected us from sea to sea

And we remember

And we thank you.

To reach Jenn Smith:
jsmith@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6239.
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink

‘We Remember’

Here’s an original poem created by the After School Poetry Class at Sullivan Elementary School in North Adams. It’s called "We Remember":

On this Memorial Day we stand humbly before you and remember all that the young women and men of our military have done for our county.

And we remember

You fought for our country

For our lives

For our rights

For our freedom

For our democracy

And for us

And we remember

The heart of a lion beat in your chest

The fear pounded in your blood

You ignored it and pushed on

And we remember

You paid the ultimate sacrifice

Leaving family members alone and missing you

Friends lonely and hurt

Dreams not yet fulfilled

And we remember

Rows of flags, flutter in the breeze

Like so many waves caressing the shore

Leaving us with cherished memories to live upon

And we remember

We remember the red

The crimson blood that was spilt upon the earth for us

We remember the white

The stars that gaze upon us

We remember the blue

The heavens and seas that reach to soothe our aching hearts

And we remember

Where would we be without your courageous souls?

The miraculous country we live in would be a shadow of itself

You’ve protected us from sea to sea

And we remember

And we thank you.

Editor’s note: This original poem was written by students in grades 5, 6 and 7 from Wendy Nelson’s After School Poetry Class at Sullivan Elementary School in North Adams. It was presented by Sullivan’s sixth- and seventh-grade students at a Memorial Day ceremony held Friday at the school.