BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- As Memorial Day approaches, schools in our area are honoring veterans in a variety of ways, and school programs for the holiday are inspiring students to serve their country.
The school colors at North Schuylkill Junior/Senior High School near Ashland are red and blue, but on this morning, students wore these colors in honor of something other than school spirit.
"What's happening here today is our Memorial Day assembly, we have this every year. We want the students to come down and observe Memorial Day and to really understand and appreciate the meaning of what Memorial Day is," explained teacher Ashley Borzak.
The auditorium was packed with students who listened to patriotic songs performed by their classmates, heard stories from veterans about their service overseas, and learned how others made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"It's definitely important because, I mean, without them, we wouldn't have a lot of the stuff we do today, and it is brave of them to go overseas and put our nation over their family," said senior Emma Sacco.
Before the assembly, the guests of honor were served breakfast by the students.
Newswatch 16 sat down with Vietnam War veteran Edward Kane to find why he thinks programs like this are important
"So they know what it takes to bring this country and learn about the veterans way, way back, and (how) they gave their lives and stuff for this country," Kane said.
One student said witnessing the camaraderie between veterans at a breakfast like this was part of the reason he decided to enlist in the Navy.
"Seeing the brotherhood of the uniforms was one of the reasons I enlisted myself. It's like being a part of something greater than yourself," said senior Chase Fanelli.
Fanelli will start his service in the Navy at the end of July. He plans to serve as a cryptologic intelligence technician. He hopes someday he is honored by students the same way these veterans are at his school.
"So, you know, looking at this people, I say you know they're great people. Maybe you know one day I'll join them and do the same," Fanelli said.
Teachers say it's special to have students inspired by this program they plan to continue for many years to come.