MASSENA — With Veterans Day approaching on Friday, Trinity Catholic School students and staff paid tribute to veterans during a special Monday morning prayer service.
Two poster boards held photos of veterans who had an affiliation with the school. One board containing 21 photos read, “Thank you for your service.” The second board, with 22 photos, read, ‘Thank you, veterans.”
A musical slideshow recognized other veterans, and the students made special cards for the veterans who were in attendance for the ceremony.
Also on display were U.S. Air Force uniforms worn by Trent P. McDonald, as well as his dog tags and memorabilia from his service in Iraq.
Fifth grade teacher Marianne Augenstein welcomed the visitors to the school.
“We want to welcome you to a very special prayer service at Trinity Catholic School. Today, we would like to honor our veterans for their faithful service to our country,” she said.
Ms. Augenstein has a special connection with veterans. Her father, James Augenstein, who died in 2018, had served with the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam. Two photos of Mr. Augenstein and two military caps he had worn were also part of Monday’s display.
She said flag and country were words heard in the Augenstein household, and attendance at parades was part of the family’s itinerary.
“We went to a lot of parades. It was a respect for the flag, a respect for the country,” Ms. Augenstein said.
Members of Massena’s AMVETS Post 4 Rifle Squad were on hand for a special presentation on the significance of folding the American flag at events such as military burials.
Commander Fred L. Cockayne, an Air Force veteran, explained the significance of the 13 folds as James Gardner, an Army veteran, and Ken Kells, an Air Force veteran, performed the folding ceremony.
“Flag folding is provided as a patriotic service,” Mr. Cockayne said.
The flag is folded 13 times in remembrance of the original 13 colonies.
The first fold symbolizes life.
The second fold represents a belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans who gave their lives in defense of the country in order to help attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold is in recognition of the nature of the country’s citizens to trust in God.
The fifth fold is a tribute to the United States, and the sixth fold symbolizes where people’s hearts lie in keeping with the words of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The seventh fold pays tribute to the armed forces.
The eighth fold is a tribute to those who died.
The ninth fold honors womanhood.
The 10th fold is a tribute to fathers.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in Judaism, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the eyes of Christians, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
The last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
“After the folding ceremony, the flag is folded and tucked in. It has the appearance of a cocked hat,” Mr. Cockayne said.
Wrapping up the prayer service was a 21-gun salute from the Rifle Squad and the playing of Taps.
What was originally called Armistice Day when it began on Nov. 11, 1919, became Veterans Day on June 1, 1954.
At first a day to honor veterans of World War I, it was later expanded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to include service members from every American war.
According to the U.S. Census, there are about 21 million veterans in the U.S. today.
Massena will celebrate Veterans Day on Friday with a parade that begins at the American Legion at about 10:30 a.m. and heads to the Massena Fire Station for an 11 a.m. service.
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