by Lissah & Lainey
On Friday, September 12th, six of our country’s veterans came to Avonworth Middle school to teach the 8th grade the proper way to conduct a flag retirement ceremony. Those that came were: Brian Allen (Marine), Bruno Fontanesi (Navy), Paul Kubas (Army, Air Corps), Shannon Crowley (Air Force), Joseph Cevarr (Air Force), and John Normile (Army). All are members of South Hills Veterans Honor Guard.
Paul Kubas told us about how Veterans could choose Army or Air Force before they died, as the service branch they would like to be represented by in their funeral. Paul said a few words from his experience in the Vietnam War. He said “The troops that were returning home from the war and were told not to wear their uniforms home or in public places for the American people would call them names like baby killers and/or spit on the soldiers.” He also told us about the oath that all American soldiers said and say before they enter the army: “I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Bruno Fontanesi later told us that he was in a group in the Us Navy that was called the Brown Navy, in the time of the Vietnam war.
Shannon Crowley places all honor guard members to various posts, rifle volley squad, guarding colors, taps players, flag and color holders. She is responsible for giving all the commands to the firing squad. Shannon, a Veteran of the US Air Force LT. COL., is also the leader of the South Hills Veterans Honor Guard. This year they are arranging 30 funerals a month.
After hearing about the experiences of the Veterans, the eighth graders were afforded the opportunity of folding an American flag the proper way and to watch a Flag Burning (how a flag is retired). When that was over, the eighth grade was granted goodbye by the Veterans as they left for a funeral service.
This is a memorable experience for the eighth graders each year. A big thank you goes out to the Veteran’s for giving up their time and sharing their experiences year in and out with our Avonworth eighth graders.