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  • Megann Horstead

‘They took risks for me;’ Joliet HS ceremony honors veterans

Updated: Jun 8


Joliet Central High School ninth-grade student Marlett Carvajal believes she is indebted to the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve or continue to serve the U.S.

“They took risks for me,” she said. “I’m not like them. I want to be like them, so I can face my fears.”

Joliet Central High School put on its annual Veterans Ceremony on Friday. From the posting of colors and service flags to the echo taps, the program set out to give special recognition to veterans for their service to the country.

In his remarks during the ceremony, Joliet Central teacher Terry Piazza spoke of how grateful he is, giving kudos to those who have served or continue to serve.

“As I stand here and peer out into the auditorium, my attention is immediately drawn to the individuals seat directly in front of me,” he said, referring to the veterans. “Like many Americans, I tend to take freedom for granted and forget the sacrifices that have been made by those and others who bravely served our country in times of need. They were and still are willing to risk their lives to allow Americans the opportunity to raise families under the rights guaranteed by the constitution of the United States of America, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Carvajal was among those guiding guests to the auditorium where the ceremony took place and said the ceremony was moving.

There was a reception after the ceremony.

Lockport resident Jack Piccoiolo sat at a table enjoying refreshments over bits of conversation. He was drafted in 1964 into the U.S. Army artillery, where he would serve until 1966.

“It’s always special when you get together with veterans,” Piccoiolo said. “A lot of times they’re more like family than your own family.”

Piccoiolo said celebrating Veterans Day brings special meaning to him.

“It’s a time to reflect and get together with other veterans such as those with the legion or the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars),” he said. “It’s a good way of honoring all veterans—those overseas and those at home.”

Shorewood resident Jim Lynch shared that sentiment.

“It was fulfilling,” he said. “I’m not a combat veterans, so it has a different meaning for me.”

“I got a tear in my eye when I heard the songs,” Lynch continued. “It distresses me when people are disrespectful when they’re playing the national anthem.”

Lynch recounted his time spent serving the U.S. Army artillery from 1963 to 1964.

“For me, I was lucky,” he said. “It was memorable. Nobody was shooting at me. It was different than a lot of veterans’ experiences.”

Lynch acknowledged he did not witness any displays of disrespect during the ceremony.

“The program was good,” he said. “There were people greeting us. All the stuff they did was great.”

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