Memorial Day services at Lakenheath and Rota remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — Students from Liberty Intermediate School offered an appropriate tribute to America’s war dead during a Memorial Day ceremony Friday at the school.
“They were completely silent,” said Frank McNamara, the social studies teacher who organized the sixth annual ceremony at the school.
The brief program involved as many of the school’s 430 students as possible, with students handing a microphone from one another as they read, line by line, the history of Memorial Day and a verse about America.
Other students raised the U.S. flag and the school flag to start the ceremony. Students Cora Baker and Elise Smith sang a patriotic song at the program’s end.
Brittni Jackson, 11, who was the narrator for the ceremony, said the event helps students learn to respect the sacrifice made by those who died in America’s wars.
“We learn it now so we don’t have to learn it later,” she said.
McNamara said the presence of several parents and the commander of the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, Col. Richard Devereaux, who spoke to the students, underscored for the students how important it is to celebrate the day in a meaningful way, rather than just having picnics.
“We stop school for this,” he said.
Devereaux spoke to the students for a few minutes, telling them it is appropriate they recognize the sacrifice of the people who, like many of their parents, wear their country’s uniform.
“It really is important to take a few minutes and think about what it means,” he said. “It’s important to remember they were people like us.
“They were dads. There were moms. They liked sports. They had families.” But, he said, they paid a high price for the freedoms enjoyed today.
“Freedom is not free,” Devereaux said. “That’s what Memorial Day is all about.”