In a celebration of those who have served the nation, the annual Memorial Day event at Belmont High School on Friday morning, May 25, was also a time for the senior class to recognize the actions of two of their classmates.
The assembly was told that Tyaishawn Abdul-Aziz (US Marines) and Sarah Kinkade (US Air Force) will be entering the armed services after graduation.
"We are proud of your commitment to our nation and wish you the best," said Deborah McDevitt, director of the social studies department, as a number of the veterans came to congratulate the pair with handshakes and pats on the arm.
Kip Gaudet, a Belmont native, Waltham resident and the commander of the VFW Post 1272 on Trapelo Road, told the seniors that as the "old guard" fades away "who can not be heard from anymore," it will be up to "you guys, who must carry freedom forward."
"We really do appreciate you being here," he said for the 14 veterans who stood around the center flag pole, giving the students a salute when their names were mentioned.
"The observance of this day was born of compassion and empathy," said McDevitt, recalling that Southern women in Mississippi cleared and beautify the graves - a Decoration Day – of both sides in the War Between the States.
"Memorial Day is a day in our nation when communities gather together to honor our fallen comrades, to honor the ideals and values those soldiers stood for and died defending," said McDevitt.
"We in this country owe a great debt of gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives so that we can live free."