This February,, students from 10 elementary schools in Westchester produced over 4,000 Valentine’s Day cards that are being distributed to local veterans and seniors throughout the county and are also being mailed to active military personnel abroad.
Earlier this month, students at George Washington Elementary School in White Plains had the opportunity to present local veterans with Valentine’s Day cards they made for the servicemen, part of an annual program called “Valentines for Vets.” During a special assembly at the school, they listened to the heartfelt stories of seven local veterans on their service to their country and the reasons why they enlisted. The event was part of a special partnership with the office of State Assemblyman David Buchwald, D-White Plains, who initiated the program five years ago.
“The folks who are sitting before you are true American heroes and we thank our friend, Assemblyman David Buchwald, who has brought them here for us to celebrate," said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca. The veterans introduced themselves to the children, recalling their experiences in various conflicts, including World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Veterans who participated included Michael Bellantoni, Mike Coffee, Mauro Piccininni, Sam Riti, Peter Sasko, Chuck Sincerbeaux and Peter Stone.
The students also had an opportunity to ask questions of the veterans. These included how they felt being away from family and friends and whether they were afraid of fighting. “We were too busy to be scared,” one veteran replied, “and we were too afraid to make a mistake." All of them said that while they were proud to serve in the military, they waited patiently for the day when they could be reunited with their loved ones. The students also learned about the various career opportunities available to those who choose military life.
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