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Students Honor First Responders on Day of Remembrance

Furnace Woods Safety Officer Rob Riley helps perform a flag raising on Sept. 11, 2023.


Students throughout the Hendrick Hudson district learned about the significance of Sept. 11 and paid homage to our first responders on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11.


Monday’s activities included flag raising ceremonies at Buchanan-Verplanck and Furnace Woods Elementary Schools, where a focus was honoring local, county and state police, fire and emergency workers for their service.


“It’s important here because we are a district composed of service members,” Buchanan-Verplanck principal James Mackin said. “Many people who live in our community served in the military or serve in some capacity in police and fire departments or as EMTs.”


During the B-V ceremony, Buchanan Fire Department chiefs Robert Outhouse and Alfred Roush raised the flag and then lowered it to half-staff. They were surrounded by members of the Verplanck Fire Department, Buchanan Police Department, county police, state police and county Emergency Medical Services.


Students also participated in the Pledge of Allegiance, held a moment of silence for those who were lost on 9/11, and capped the ceremony by singing a school song alongside music teacher Juliet Soricelli.


Mackin credited the school’s Safety Officer, Ken Gilleo, for assembling the first responders and organizing the ceremony.


“It’s important to teach the younger students not just about 9/11, but about why it’s important to honor these folks who have served and continued to serve,” Mackin said.


At Furnace Woods, county and state police and members of Buchanan’s police and fire departments joined students and staff for their day of remembrance and flag raising. Student Conor Goldman read a poem expressing appreciation for first responders and Dominic Campoverde spoke about the flag raising and how it signals new beginnings.


Students who serve the Boy and Girl Scouts passed the American flag to one another. One, Ben Boyer, accompanied Furnace Woods’ Scott Gilbert with a drum roll and Gilbert and Rob Riley, the school’s Safety Officer, helped lower the flag to half-mast.


“We honor and commemorate the sacrifices made on 9/11 by remembering the heroes, armed forces, first responders and countless others’ acts of service to defend our nation’s freedom,” fourth-grade teacher Dana Duffy told students during the ceremony. “Together, we stand as a symbol of unity and strength, committed to spreading love, hope and support in our community and our country.”