BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Adamsville Primary School held its 5th Annual Armed Forces Salute Friday, honoring the community’s veterans and active members of the military.   

Twenty-two honorees attended the breakfast and ceremony, representing the Army, Navy, National Guard, Air Force and Marines, each one a relative or close friend of an Adamsville student or staff member.

The event began with a catered breakfast, festively decorated in red, white and blue. Students waited excitedly for their special guests to arrive, and greeted them with smiles and hugs.  

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While everyone enjoyed breakfast, a slideshow played displaying photos of the honored heroes.

Cindy Nurse, an intervention specialist at the school who has chaired the Armed Forces Salute Committee for all five years, welcomed the guests.  

“Sixty-seven people have come through our doors these past five years,” she said. “We are so thankful that you can take the time to come in and celebrate with us. We know how much you have given to keep us safe and to keep our country what it is, so thank you very, very much.”

A video of students sharing their messages of appreciation was also shown.

“Today we honor you for your service and thank you for all the sacrifices you made for our country,” one student said.

The morning ceremony also recognized student winners of a poster and essay contest, a component that was first added to the event last year.
Three winning posters were displayed, all drawn by kindergarten students.  Student essay contest winners – two third graders and one fourth grader – read their essays that highlighted their appreciation for the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to help keep the country safe.

Two third grade classes performed songs to honor the veterans. Carolina Smith’s class sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and Christine Pfitzenmayer’s class sang “Hero In This Place,” an original song written by a Connecticut music teacher.

Nurse said that same teacher also wrote “Thank You Soldier,” a song that played in the background of the photo slideshow.

Each year, this event is sponsored by the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association and the New Jersey Education Association through a “Pride In Public Education” grant for community events funded by association members’ dues. Nurse has applied for the annual grant and chaired the planning committee each year since she first brought the idea to Adamsville Primary five years ago.  

“It’s near and dear to my heart, I have family members who have also served,” said Nurse in her welcoming remarks.

In addition to the Armed Forces Salute Committee of 10, a local cub scout troop assists with the event every year. This year, they led the Pledge of Allegiance and also painted two wooden pallets with American flags, adding a decoration that can be used year after year.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, honorees were escorted to their assigned classrooms for meet and greets, book readings and question and answer periods.  As they proceeded to the classrooms, they passed by a “Hall of Heroes” bulletin board display featuring their photos, names and branches of service as students lined the hallways to applaud them.

Several classrooms had also decorated their doors with colorful artwork and messages like “Thank you for covering home” and “We appreciate your service.”

The expressions on the faces of the honorees, students and staff members conveyed how meaningful and positive the experience was for all.  

Honorees included:

  • Cory Acquista, Air Force
  • Daniel Ally, Navy
  • Tom Butler, Army
  • Chris Courter, Marines
  • Patrick DeSan, Navy
  • Rufino Gasmen, Navy
  • Charles Goszka, NJ National Guards
  • Terrance Haupt, Army
  • Edward Houston, Army
  • Raefael Marinho, Army
  • John Murray, Marines
  • Daniel Petrozelli, Navy
  • Fred Smith, Army
  • John Smith, Air Force
  • Paul Torgersen, Army
  • Paola Velez, Army
  • Joseph Wagner, Navy,
  • William Wilde, Sr. , Army
  • George W Moore, Jr., Marines