Manchester VFW celebrates Veterans Day
MANCHESTER — The VFW Post 6471 celebrated Veterans Day on Sunday, Nov. 11 in Manchester with essays and poems, but one of the highlights of the day came after the ceremony was over and happened so quietly hardly anybody in the room even knew it had taken place.
Alex Huber, a seventh-grader at Stratton Mountain School, held a $300 check for his winning essay the VFW had hosted.
Huber had read his winning essay for the sizeable crowd and was honored during the ceremony.
But after the event had broken up and many people were gone or leaving, Huber quietly approached Post Commander Bruce Charbonneau and donated his winning check back to the post with the suggestion that he give it to the Boy Scouts.
The moment clearly affected Charbonneau, who was momentarily at a loss for words before heaping praise on Huber for his selfless act.
Huber admitted his mom had come up with the idea initially but left it up to him. He admitted $300 is a lot of money for a seventh-grader, but said it wasn't hard to follow her suggestion.
"It just made sense," Huber said. "It wasn't hard. I think it will be put to better use."
Huber's essay, "Why I Honor the American Flag," was selected the winner of the Patriot Pen award and won in the middle school age category.
SMS high school senior James St. Ville won the Patriot Citizen award and read his essay, "Why My Vote Matters." St. Ville was also awarded $300.
The top three finishers in both age groups were awarded cash prizes. The first- and second-place finishers qualify to move on to compete with other winners from southern Vermont, with those winners qualifying to move on to the state and national competitions.
SMS teachers Mary Mangiacotti and Melissa Oliva were proud of their students' performance.
"This was such a great learning experience for the students," Mangiacotti said. "They thought deeply about the why their vote matters."
Oliva praised Huber for his essay.
"Alex focused on organization and a variety of sentence structures to write a beautifully crafted essay on why he honored the American flag," Oliva said. "I am so proud of his effort."
Others highlights of the day included the reading of poems by Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and the introduction of World War II veteran Mark Cosmedy, 91, of Peru, along with other veterans.
Cosmedy said he served aboard an attack transport APA ship late in World War II in the Pacific. and was at Okinawa when the Japanese surrendered.
Cosmedy said most of his duty was getting soldier home after hostilities ended. He said his best memories were being on the ships transporting soldiers and the emotions that would erupt onboard when they would sail under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco.
"The emotions at that point was amazing," Cosmedy said. "If you don't get goosebumps then, you never will."
Honoring veterans like Cosmedy is what Charbonneau said the day was about.
"The veterans who fought before us paved the way," Charbonneau told the crowd. "We've served our country and we've done it proudly."
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