A New Tradition Begins

Students from the third and fourth grades at Hampton Bays Elementary School gathered together on Thursday, November 10, to honor local veterans and local heroes. The guest of honor was Walter Flaherty, who served in the United States Army’s 741st Tank Battalion and survived D-Day at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. For his service, Mr. Flaherty received the American Service Medal, the European/African/Middle Eastern Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and a Distinguished Unit Badge. A flag will be flown in the front of the elementary school in his honor for the next 30 days.

“Raising a flag is our small way of saying thank you,” said Hampton Bays District Superintendent Lars Clemensen.

The Veterans Day Luncheon, an annual gathering, celebrated the contributions of American servicemen and women. Among the events of the day presented by the students were the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of “God Bless America,” the reading of Mr. Flaherty’s biography, Patriot Pen readings, Veterans Day poetry readings, presentations by the K-Kids officers, student essay readings, and the singing of marches from each branch of the military—Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force, Navy and Army. The students also created handmade placemats for each of the veterans to enjoy during lunch.

The event also included a flag ceremony by the American Legion Color Guard, a luncheon prepared by the PTA and parent volunteers, and visits by Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi.
Going forward, a flag will be flown every 30 days in recognition of a local veteran’s commitment to service, according to Mr. Clemensen.