Wreath program bridges gap between war veterans, students

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GLOUCESTER, R.I. (WPRI) — Ponaganset High School’s gym was packed Tuesday morning to honor local men and women who fought for the United States and their families.

The high school hosts a program each year as part of the nationwide “Wreaths Across America” campaign. A group of students, with social studies teacher Michael Calenda, organize the event.

The wreath program’s motto is “Remember – Honor – Teach.”

Students joined with veterans in a wreath-laying ceremony in the gym before the crowd of veterans and school community. They recognized veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the War in Afghanistan.

Among the speakers was Cpl. Kevin Dubois of Burrillville, who lost both of his legs due to an IED explosion in 2011 in Afghanistan, and now uses a wheelchair. He noted that lots of people tell him he has a great attitude.

The reason why, he said, was because of 400,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery, some of whom are his friends.

“If I were just sitting at home, feeling sorry for myself, how much disrespect it would be to their memory,” he said.

He said Tuesday’s event is a way of keeping them alive.

On Monday, the Rhode Island State House hosted a wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Heroes as part of the “Wreaths Across America” program.

The dateline of this story was updated to reflect that Ponaganset High School is in the town of Glocester proper, though it has a North Scituate mailing address.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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