Thomson Elementary School Honors Veterans
The elementary school held a packed ceremony for local veterans.
Hundreds gathered at Thomson Elementary School Friday as kids showed their appreciation for veterans with its Third Annual Veterans Day Celebration.
"It was a great turnout today," Thomson School Principal Gregg Gilligan said Friday after the ceremony. "Kathy O'Neil, the school nurse, and Donna Dragosits, the music teacher, did a great job organizing it and setting it up."
The event featured kids reading poems and singing songs to veterans. One particularly interesting performance was by a group of kids from the Annie Sargent Elementary School who are non-verbal but sang with the help of electronic devices. They sang "God Bless America" by Ray Charles.
Members of the military attended, in uniform. There was also a flag ceremony with the Boy Scouts and a PowerPoint presentation about the wars America has fought.
"We were truly honored to have veterans from all of the branches – Coast Guard, Army Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force – here as our special guests," Gilligan said. "It was a really a great teachable moment for our kids to understand what veterans day is all about and democracy here in the United States."
Gilligan, a history buff, noted that the ceremony was particularly appropriate because the school was named after Private Albert E. Thomson who grew up on Waverly Road and was the first North Andover casualty in World War I.
Thomson had barely graduated from grammar school at age 15 when he enlisted in the Army. On June 18, 1917 he was sent to France to fight. He served for 10 months in the 101st Infantry of the 26th Division. Thomson was killed on July 20, 1918, three months shy of his 17th birthday. In 1924, the town built the Alfred E. Thomson Elementary School in his honor.
"So it was part fitting to have such a big veterans day here particularly since the school was named after a veteran," Gilligan said.