Active and retire military were honored last Thursday at Guy E. Rowe School in Norway. Pictured from left: Staff Sergeant Mark Lawton, (US Army Rangers/US Air Force), Airman First Class Bird Mariko (Air National Guard), Rachel Woodard (Army National Guard), Second Lieutenant Steve Cronce (Army National Guard), Retired Quarter Master Richard Hatch (Army National Guard), Retired Sergeant Joey Billings Sr. (Army National Guard), Retired Sergeant Timothy Farrell (Army National Guard, Gerald Ruane (Army National Guard), Major Daniel Levis (Army National Guard), Brandon Keene (Army National Guard), Fred Stearns (US Army), Sargent Robert Moats (US Army), Specialist 4th Class Walter Truman (US Army), Retired First Class Sergeant Val Graffa (US Army), Guy E. Rowe School Principal Doug Kilmister, Private Second Class Dean Page (US Army), Retired Major Teresa Drag (Marine Corp), Corporal Richard Ouellette (Marine Corp), Corporal Loretta MacDonald (Marine Corp), Senior Airman Jesse Hill (Air Force), Master Sergeant Retired Marc Richard (Air Force), Hospital Corpsman Eric Weed (Air Force), Hospital Corpsman Heidi Strout (US Navy), Petty Officer First Class Andrew Stephenson (US Coast Guard).

NORWAY — Oxford Hills service men and women were celebrated during a school-wide assembly at Guy E. Rowe School the day before Veterans Day.

Rowe Principal Doug Kilmister welcomed and introduced each military member present to the audience.

Sixth-grade students Corley Sunday, Victoria Sessions and Elise Knapp each spoke during the assembly, sharing with the school the history of Veterans Day dating back to the end of World War I in 1918 and how it evolved from being known as Armistice Day to being renamed Veterans Day to honor all Americans who have served America and democracy during times of war. They also spoke of the honor and courage of those Americans who answered the call to defend freedom as well as the sacrifices veterans and their families have made on behalf of the United States, and encouraged their school mates to do their part to serve their country, whether in military service or in other ways.

“If we want to preserve our freedoms,” they said. “We must put them into action. For example, by voting in elections or speaking out against in justices. We must ensure that everyone feels the benefits of freedom. And we can do that by volunteering in our communities or teaching our children what it really means to be an American.”

Guy E. Rowe School students from military families led the Pledge of Allegiance and presented their family members with white carnations during a Veterans Day ceremony in Norway last Thursday. Pictured: Colton Richard (foreground) and Mason Weed. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Rowe students with family members facing the audience recited the Pledge of Allegiance and presented their relatives with white carnations.

Kilmister told the Advertiser Democrat that he and a staff committee at the school worked to coordinate the event, Shannon Penfold, first grade teacher; Claudette Pierce, second grade teacher; Jasmine Merrill, school secretary; and Tony Orlando, music teacher.

Kilmister, whose father served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, began the Rowe Veterans Day tradition in 2019 during his first year as principal. It had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and public health mandates. He plans to hold it annually.

“He was always very proud of his service,” Kilmister said in his address during the assembly. “I was proud, too. Whether you have family members serving currently in the armed forces, have family members who are veterans, or have family members who have never served, this assembly is a chance for you to pay respect and take pride in those who serve or have served our country and our community.”

Afterwards, in an email statement to the Advertiser Democrat, Kilmister share this: “I think for children the event is about building awareness of the role of veterans in our society, putting a face to veterans in our community, and learning to respect veterans and all people who serve the community and the country.”

Comments are not available on this story.