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Veteran’s Day assembly moves packed audience

Students+listen+intently+as+veteran+and+Southborough+resident+Steve+Whynot+talks+about+his+experience+in+the+United+States+Armed+Forces.
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Veteran’s Day assembly moves packed audience

Students listen intently as veteran and Southborough resident Steve Whynot talks about his experience in the United States Armed Forces.

Students listen intently as veteran and Southborough resident Steve Whynot talks about his experience in the United States Armed Forces.

Photo Apple Lin

Students listen intently as veteran and Southborough resident Steve Whynot talks about his experience in the United States Armed Forces.

Photo Apple Lin

Photo Apple Lin

Students listen intently as veteran and Southborough resident Steve Whynot talks about his experience in the United States Armed Forces.

Liza Armstong, Sports Editor

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“Veterans come from all walks of life, all classes, all races from all across the country,” senior and Operation Tomahawk president Allan Bramhill said. “These men and women have been deployed across the world for months or even years at a time fighting our nation’s wars and keeping our country safe….Every American’s life has been touched by the years a veteran has given to us.”

These words echoed out over a silent crowd. Almost every seat in the auditorium was filled as Bramhill led an assembly to honor Veterans Day on November 9.

During the assembly, Bramhill, along with senior Tony Massaglia, shared their reasons for enlisting in the Armed Forces as an infantryman and behavioral health specialist respectively.  Navy and Coast Guard veteran of Southborough Steve Whynot also shared his story and members of the chorus sang patriotic songs.

Whynot, who said he joined the Navy after some of his friends did, shared his experience as a storekeeper, whose main duties are accounting and keeping track of the ship’s inventory. In the Navy, Whynot was able to visit parts of the world he’d never imagined seeing and he was also deployed to Vietnam during the war.

During his speech, Whynot described the World War II veterans he has the privilege of knowing.

“Those men from World War II are the greatest generation,” Whynot said. “They left high school and went to fight in a war that saved this world. Had they not taken up arms, had they not gone overseas, had they not done what they needed to do, this world, as tough as it is now, would be a whole lot tougher… That’s why to me, my biggest heroes are those guys.”

Whynot also praised Bramhill’s and Massaglia’s decisions to enlist in the Army.

For Bramhill, it was his father who inspired him to enlist.

“Throughout my life, I have observed the way my father acted,” Bramhill said in his speech. “From how he watched my brother’s soccer games to him playing Taps every Memorial Day. A United States Marine of 15 years, my father has shown me what it means to serve your country, not for yourself, but for the love of your country as a whole.”

According to Massaglia, his grandfather, a field medic in Vietnam, inspired him.

“For every story he told me, the more I learned of the sacrifices he made for those who only knew him as a stranger, and for each of those stories he told me, the more I felt inclined to follow his true path of American valor,” Massaglia said in his speech.

The speakers received standing ovations, and many in the packed audience were affected by their speeches.

English teacher Lindsay Coppens was moved by not only their decisions to enlist, but also by their speeches.

“I had Tony [Massaglia] when he was a sophomore in English class, and he was a goofball,” Coppens said with a laugh. “I was incredibly proud to see him up there speaking so eloquently and so passionately and [from me already] tearing up about Allan’s speech, my tears just overflowed with Tony speaking because I’ve just seen such a transformation in him…It drove home that [for] people enlisting in the military, it really is a family sacrifice.”

Bramhill wants the community to take the message of veterans’ sacrifices beyond the auditorium.

“I would love for more people to thank veterans and truly mean it,” Bramhill said after the assembly. “I tried to put the emphasis on the 22 veterans that commit suicide every day. Out of everything said, I hope that is what stayed with people the most.”

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Veteran’s Day assembly moves packed audience