Operation Tomahawk puts on annual Veterans Day assembly

Event meant to have attendants learn what it’s like to serve in military


Annabella Ferraiuolo

During the Veteran’s Day assembly on Nov. 15, Lt Col. Daniel Kolenda shares his experience in the U.S. Army and how it impacted his life.

Elena Neilson and Macey Poitras-Cote

On Friday Nov. 15, Operation Tomahawk presented the Veterans Day assembly in the auditorium honoring those who have sacrificed their lives to protect Americans’ freedoms.

Operation Tomahawk president Olivia Lamy gave an introduction about the importance of commemorating those who served in the military. Lamy also introduced a cappella group Soulfege, who sang the national anthem.

Supporter of veterans Jo-Ann Morgan and retired US Army Major Vincent Cifizzari led the POW/MIA (prisoner of war/missing in action) ceremony to honor and remember those who were taken as prisoners of war and those who were missing in action. There was an empty table set up for the meeting. Morgan explained the significance of an empty place setting and what each object on stage represented relative to those who were missing yet would not be forgotten.

Senior Dakota Drew spoke next about his future plans of going into the United States Army, as well as what Veterans Day means to him. Drew was inspired to take this career path because his father and grandfather both served in the military. He also wants to be a part of the military to educate others with his experiences. 

“There are not a lot of people who serve [in the military], and usually with a high school like this, military isn’t top priority and people aren’t as educated in how hard it is and the things that you do in it,” Drew said.

Veteran and guest speaker Steve Whynot of the US Navy, Coast Guard Ret. spoke about his experiences in the Navy, highlighting what being a veteran means to him. Whynot spoke about why he enjoys coming to speak to Algonquin students. 

“I know a lot of [the students] have to be here…but you can see their faces, and a lot of them are really interested and want to listen to us,” Whynot said.“They get the lesson and walk away and thank a veteran and understand what Veterans Day and Memorial Day are all about. That’s why I do this…to keep it in people’s memories.”

Whynot also presented Lamy the challenge coin for the work she has done with Operation Tomahawk to bring awareness and support for those who have served.  

Active duty guest speaker Daniel Kolenda shared his stories of why he wanted to serve and how he worked hard to be able to serve his country. He spoke about his time in the military and the sacrifices he has had to make. 

Every speaker from the assembly understood the sacrifices they made in their lives but were satisfied with their choice to protect and serve.