PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - Dozens of local military veterans were honored for their service Monday to kick off Pleasantville High School's week-long celebration of Memorial Day.
"These are people who deserve our thanks from the bottom of our hearts, not only for what they did, but for what they've done when they came back," said Mayor Peter Scherer. "Its no accident that the men called to service have come back and served us in so many other ways."
Many of veterans honored Monday have served in elected positions, worked for the village, owned businesses, and have run American Legion posts in Pleasantville and Thornwood, Scherer said.
Scherer also shared stories about the state of Pleasantville High School during World War II, in which many of Monday's veterans served. He said the enrollment of the school between 1943-45 was disproportionately girls, as many of the village's 17 and 18-year-old boys had left to serve the county in some fashion.
"A number of the students had asked to break the tradition of a teacher giving the commencement address," Scherer said. "Graduates of the class of 1944 wanted themselves to reflect on the fact that they were graduating into a world, that in just a few short years, had gone tragically wrong."
Several World War II veterans were highlighted and shared their stories in a documentary created and directed by students Jack Butler, Dylan Franks and Jacob Nemec.
The ceremony was in the school's auditorium, where a blue and gold star banner with the number 30 hangs to remember graduates who lost their lives during service.
"This banner honors the memory of 30 Pleasantville High School graduates who gave their lives so that we may live free today," said student speaker Barrett Rosenbaum. "Remember, a simple thank you makes all the difference to the families with fallen heroes."
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