ARHS student organization ‘Operation Tomahawk’ hosts Memorial Day assembly

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

(l to r) – Al Graefing, US Army, Neal Swenor, USAF, Ed Bombard and Richard B. Neiber, US Navy and Gerard Bourque, US Army

Northborough – Memorial Day – what does it mean? On May 25 Algonquin Regional High School’s (ARHS) school-based club, “Operation Tomahawk,’ held an assembly in the school’s auditorium to remind students that the day was so much more than just the unofficial start of summer.

Two guest speakers, both veterans, were invited to share some of their experiences in the military and what the day means to them.

The first speaker, Dan Miller, is currently a representative from the Wounded Warrior Project. He served with the United States Marine Corps in the Gulf War and in Afghanistan, post 9/11.

He said that without the service of our vets, “we wouldn’t have the freedom to assemble, the freedom to speak our minds and the freedom to honor those that have gone before us.”

The second guest speaker was Jered Sasen, a United States Navy veteran and veteran services agent from Wilbraham, Mass.

“As we observe Memorial Day this Monday, we do more than carry out a tradition that dates back to 1866…on Monday we honor the fallen,” he told the students.

Members of the Algonquin Chorus, Erin Blake, Zoe Devine, Stephanie Kalinowski, Alyssa Mawson and Katherine Moffa performed the national anthem as well as “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America”.

ARHS junior and club president, Allen Bramhill, a junior and the club’s president, also addressed his fellow students.

“Memorial Day, it’s about informing people that it’s not just for barbecues, it’s remembering why we are allowed to have barbecues,” he said.

Bramhill’s post-high school plans include enlisting in the United States Army.

Invited guests included local veterans Al Graefing and Gerard Bourque (Army); Neal Swenor (Air Force) and Ed Bombard and Richard B. Neiber (Navy). .

“I’m really proud of Allen and our students. They are the driving force for the club,” the club’s faculty advisor Gina Johnston said.

The club’s goals include honoring and helping service members and veterans in any means possible, e.g., fundraising, volunteering and whatever they can do to show support.

Monies raised this year will support the Mission 22, a foundation that helps with suicide prevention among veterans.

The assembly concluded with a rendition of Taps, performed by ARHS student Will Donahue.

Dan Miller
Allen Bramhill
Jered Sasen