Twice this week, George Poole dressed up in uniform, a cluster of medals on his chest, and headed to a local school.
Seven veterans are fanning out in the city this year to speak to students in the city’s elementary schools and St. Charles Elementary School about Veterans’ Day.
Veterans’ Day started after World War II, as Armistice Day, fourth grader Kathleen Ciodo told the audience Wednesday outside the Hurld School. Renamed Veterans’ Day in 1954, it recognizes everyone who is serving, or who has ever served in the US military, she said.
Veterans in five branches of the United States military service all over the world protect our freedoms, Poole, an Army veteran of both Vietnam and the Cold War, told the audience. Those branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Poole reminded students about the Veterans’ Day parade this morning, Friday, Nov. 11, starting at 10 a.m. at Central Square, on Main Street near the Wyman School, followed by a ceremony on the common.
He also shared a “secret” with the students.
“You see a veteran every day,” he said: school crossing guard Anthony (“Bishy”) Pandolph. Bishy served in the US Army from 1953 to 1955. Two of his brothers served in World War II, he told Woburn Patch as he stopped traffic on Bedford Road for students and adults after the ceremony.
Yesterday, Poole spoke to students at St. Charles School. He planned to talk about joining the military, he said. Eighth graders at St. Charles School presented a program on the preamble to the Constitution.
The other veterans who have spoken, or will be speaking to students this coming week, their branch of service, and where they were scheduled to speak, follow, alphabetically.
Charles Culhane, Army, at the Wyman Elementary School;
Ed Friedrich, Marine Corps, at the Reeves Elementary School;
Jim McPartlin, Army, at the Linscott-Rumford Elementary School;
and Denis Russell, Navy, at the Altavesta Elementary School.
They are all veterans of Vietnam, according to the city’s office of veterans services.
Michael Mulrenan who spoke at the Malcolm White Elementary School, is a Marine Corps veteran. He served during peacetime.
Joe Wells, who will speak this coming Wednesday at the Shamrock Elementary School, is an Army veteran. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Students at the Kennedy Middle School presented their own program of speeches and music.
Woburn Patch touched on part of the ceremonies at the Reeves and Altavesta Schools in an article yesterday about a local family whose son is serving in Afghanistan.