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St. Thomas More School pays tribute to student’s military kin

Students at St. Thomas More School, along Flexer Avenue, in Salisbury Township, paid tribute to the fathers and mothers, grandparents and other relatives who served in the U.S. military service at a special early Veterans Day assembly Nov. 9 at the school.

School Principal Derek Peiffer said the assembly was especially meaningful to him as a relatively new St. Thomas More school leader. Referring to COVID-19 complications which prevented an assembly last year, Peiffer said, “I’ve waited a long time to be part of a Veterans Day assembly with you. But, seeing you here, and your veteran family members, makes it worth the wait. We salute you veterans.”

Students who had relatives visiting were seated with them in special reserved seating areas. Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines attended.

A Marine color guard, comprised of four U.S. Marines in full dress uniforms, started the assembly with a flag presentation drill, followed by all singing the national anthem.

Retired St. Thomas More pastor, Monsignor John Murphy, who served at the church from 1980 until his retirement earlier this year, gave the invocation and the benediction for the assembly service.

Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell was the featured speaker, reminding the students of the great sacrifices made by our country’s military. He presented a certificate of appreciation to each veteran in attendance.

The assembly then sang along with a video music version of “God Bless America,” accompanied appropriately by flowing tears among a number of veterans and teachers attending.

Lehigh Valley-based Navy bugler Thomas Anderson ended the ceremony with the playing of taps.

PRESS PHOTOS BY JIM MARSH U.S. Army veteran John Chaya Sr., who served during the Vietnam War era, reads the poster explaining the symbolism of each item on the “Missing man table,” before the start of a Veterans Day appreciation assembly at St. Thomas More School Nov. 9. The display honors military service personnel who are reported and listed as “missing” in conflicts involving U.S. military men and women.
As the featured speaker at an assembly honoring U.S. military veterans Nov. 9 at St. Thomas More School, Allentown Mayor Ray O'Connell presents certificates of appreciation to all attending veterans related to the school's students.
U.S. Army veteran Kenneth Dando displays the certificate of appreciation he received at St. Thomas More School Nov. 9 at an assembly honoring U.S. military veterans. Dando's grandson, Charlie Gold is a student at the school.
Lehigh Valley-based U.S. Navy bugler Thomas Anderson plays taps to close the assembly at St. Thomas More School Nov. 9 that saluted U.S. military personnel for Veteran's Day Nov. 11.