On Friday, November 10, the 242nd anniversary of the founding of U.S. Marine Corps, Ross School students showed their appreciation for the sacrifices of military service members with a Veterans Day Assembly and meals on both the Upper School and Lower School campuses.
The assembly at the Lower School began with an address by Andrew Malone, former seaman first class in the U.S. Navy. Malone shared with the students his experiences serving during World War II. He was assigned to one of the several segregated African-American companies, where he was one of few minorities allowed to attain his rank. Twice diverted from combat missions while en route, first by an opponent’s surrender and then by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Malone spent most of his active duty in Guam, where he remained until he was discharged. Following his service, he returned to his native Sag Harbor, where he earned a living as a mechanic and owner of an auto body repair shop.
After Malone’s remarks, the audience enjoyed a performance by the Long Island Sound Chorus. The program, which included patriotic classics, ended with the United States Armed Forces Medley, during which veterans were invited to stand for applause during their branch’s song. Among the chorus performers was Sandy Coleman, U.S. Army Specialist 4, who served in the Signal Corps. She proudly stepped forward during “The Army Goes Rolling Along.”
In preparation for the assembly, each LS grade level participated in an art project, and they presented their final paintings in gratitude to the veterans women. Additionally, the sixth grade student government hosted a collection of household items, which they intend to donate to the Veterans Administration to be distributed to former military members in need.
Following the assembly, the veterans were invited to lunch, where students took time to learn more about them. Serving in the U.S Air Force as an airman first class during the Vietnam War saw Chuck MacWhinnie (grandfather of Luke M. ’29) carrying out top-secret missions, but it also placed him directly in the path of his wife, to whom he has been married for 48 years.
New York native Bill Wrobbel enlisted in the U.S. Navy with six friends from high school. During his tenure as a third class petty officer, Bill was among those deployed during American military inventions in the Lebanon Crisis of 1958 and the 1959 Suez Crisis. Following his active duty, he also served in the Navy Reserve.
When asked what qualities make a good soldier, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Keith Cronin, whose sacrifices during the Vietnam War earned him a Purple Heart, summed it up best: “It takes dedication, bravery, and you must be faithful.”
Students on the Upper School campus celebrated Veterans Day on Saturday, November 11. More than 30 veterans attended the celebration and shared their experiences with student over brunch.