To keep Levy-Lakeside students’ patriotic pride alive despite Covid-19 restrictions, the school's Parent Teacher Association came up with an alternative to observe Veterans Day. On Nov. 10, a field of small American flags will be arranged in front of the building, each one sponsored by a student, teacher or resident to honor a loved one who served in the military.
“We’re trying to reinvent all these events that have taken place at the school to still acknowledge the people that are important to us,” said PTA Co-President Melissa Warshaw. “We'll put all the flags outside in the ground, so when parents drop off or pick up their kids they’ll be able to see it.”
The PTA sold 130 flags at $4 a piece, raising roughly $500 for Soldiers’ Angels. The nonprofit provides aid, comfort and other resources to the military, veterans and their families. Warshaw said the flags will remain outside the school two weeks after Veterans Day.
“It’s important for these kids to understand why they’re having a day off,” Warshaw added, “so they can stop for a minute and thank these people for what they’ve done for our country.”
Lakeside typically holds a Veterans Day assembly every year, inviting local servicemembers to meet with students and make remarks. But even though students couldn’t meet veterans in person due to the pandemic, the PTA ensured their presence was felt in a different way.
To take Veterans Day observance “one step further,” Warshaw said, the PTA reached out to residents who had a servicemember in their family. Those relatives were asked to record a short clip of themselves addressing the Lakeside community, which were compiled into a video that will be screened in each classroom the week of Veterans Day.
“This gives us and [students] a new opportunity to recognize and thank our community members who are veterans,” said Principal Elizabeth Trencheny.
One of the veterans featured in the video was Patrick Keane, who served in the United States Marine Corps from 1992 to 2018. After he retired, Keane and his wife, Diana, moved to Merrick from East Meadow to raise their children — Patrick, 11, Thomas, 9, and twins Audrey and Erin, 5 — in the district.
“A large part of why we chose to live here [is because] Levy-Lakeside tremendously appreciates its veterans,” Keane said. “It was important enough to [the PTA] to work through the current situation and constraints so the kids [could] see veterans, and it reinforces in my mind how great of a school it is.”
As the guest speaker at Lakeside’s Veterans Day ceremony in 2019, Keane said he “greatly” appreciated the PTA’s gesture, adding, “I’ve been all over the world, served 26 years in the Marines, and I can say with complete certitude — even with all of our ups and downs — there is no better country and no better people worth defending.”