A civil war cannon, two Humvees, and school age children waving flags are on the blacktop of North Main Street School in Pleasantville. Why? Because, it was the Veterans Day celebration. Candice Deluccia, a third grade teacher, organized this year’s Veterans Day event.
Mark Santanello, the school guidance counselor, introduced Sgt. at Arms Chuck Knutson and Corporal Jaime Knutson to the student body. They are volunteers with Last Salute, the only military funeral honor guard serving Atlantic County. Sgt. Knutson informed students and staff that the flag folding ceremony was to remember and honor veterans who have served in the military defending our country. Wearing formal white gloves, they each held an end of an opened American flag at waist height, parallel to the ground. A hush fell on the student body. First, they folded the flag in half and half again until the blue field was facing out. At the striped end a triangle fold was made, having the edge meet the open top. Each fold of the flag was done slowly, and with exacting movements until the entire flag was folded into the symbolic tri-corner shape. The dignity and precision of the flag ceremony grabbed the attention of everyone. As the meticulously folded flag was held up for students to see, a large winged bird flew overhead. The majesty of the bird as it soared above the crowd made the moment significant even though it was not an eagle.
That was not the only interesting sight in the sky. Ooh and aah’s were heard as all eyes looked up. A drone taking photos of the morning activities was being piloted by the technology teacher, Tim Kelly.
Students applauded a thank you to Cpl. Knutson and Sgt. Knutson. Then students paraded around the Humvees and cannon. Student chatter could be heard as they examined the military vehicles and then headed back into school. The importance of the Veterans Day celebration was cemented in the minds of many with the memory of the flag folding ceremony, military vehicles, cannon, and a majestic bird flyover.