Chicopee students get visit from Vietnam vets

Many came away with strong feelings

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Some Chicopee elementary schools students have a clearer idea Friday night why we observe Memorial Day.

Anna Barry Elementary School 3rd and 4th graders clutched American flags as Vietnam and Gulf War veterans told them of their comrades who never returned home.

This solemn yet uplifting gathering at the school’s flagpole took on additional meaning for the veterans. They remembered when they were school children, learning about Memorial Day from World War II veterans who visited their school.

Chicopee Vietnam vet Louis Brault said, “Very important, I learned a lot from them. When I got my draft notice, I joined instead of getting drafted. I was ready, in my heart, to go do something they did.”

3rd grader Ezekiel Amerderl came away with strong feelings about why Americans pause to honor the nation’s war dead. “It means that people fought in the Civil War and other wars to protect our country.”

And from previous memorial day programs, 4th grader Shkurt Bharami, a native of Kosovo, joins her parents honoring America’s war dead. “To honor them, we just go to cemeteries and replace flags and worship them for their hard work.”

Chicopee’s Memorial and Patriotic Committee invited veterans to conduct Memorial Day programs at every school in the city.

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