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If These Walls Could Talk…



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If These Walls Could Talk…

By Larissa Lytwyn

In honor of Veterans’ Day, Middle Gate Elementary School students have helped organize a Remembrance Wall commemorating friends and relatives’ service as well as the service of Newtown veterans. “We did it on a small scale last year for fourth graders,” said Middle Gate fourth grade teacher Linda Baron. “We had such a strong response, we decided to expand it schoolwide this year.”

A main hallway adjacent to the Middle Gate lobby is now adorned with the military pictures and service information of more than 200 veterans. “We have veterans who served in every conflict from World War II to the Korean War to Vietnam to Persian Gulf,” said Ms Baron. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars provided documentation of Newtown veterans.

Students who did not have friends or relatives who were veterans contributed in other ways, including writing thank-you letters to veterans, decorating posters, and engaging in individual classroom activities.

Ms Baron, a Bethel resident, first had the idea to coordinate the project after volunteering at similar program in Bethel schools. “I thought it would be great if we could bring this project to Newtown,” she said. “Maybe we can expand it to all the elementary schools!”

Students have been learning about the history of Veterans’ Day through “Service Stripes.” Each weekday from October 27 through November 10, classes have learned about how the holiday came into being through line-by-line readings recited each day along the American flag’s 13 stripes.

Academic lessons have been planned around the holiday, said Ms Baron. Students have been learning about the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, war history from the Revolutionary War through Persian Gulf, and the distinct marine, navy, airborne, and army divisions within the American military.

Classes will also be tying yellow ribbons each week throughout November around trees on Middle Gate grounds as a symbol of solidarity.

The walls will be open for public viewing November 10 from 1:40 to 8 pm and November 12 from 8 to 10 am. After breakfast from 8 to 8:30 am with school board members, Superintendent of Schools Evan Pitkoff, and First Selectman Herb Rosenthal, students will participate in the pledge of allegiance and sing patriotic songs between 8:30 and 10 am. Registration for the breakfast is required. To register, contact Middle Gate School at 426-7662.

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