YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown High School students often learn the history of wars, but as they enter their school for the next week, they will be met with faces to remind them.
State Sen. Greg Ball (R,C,I – District 40) created a wall of veterans to recognize those who now serve as neighbors and community members. One such veteran who was honored is resident and member of Yorktown's American Legion, John McQuillan.
"It's a great honor to be on it and not only honor myself but all veterans," McQuillan said Tuesday. "It lets everybody know, including these high school students that there are veterans in their town."
Ball introduced the Wall of Fame at Yorktown High School to students after the school's choir sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He was joined by Yorktown officials and school administrators, as well as veterans honored on the wall and those who came to support.
"I think it's more personal when you honor certain individuals and you honor what they did," he said. "Honoring certain individuals can teach others what their specific experiences are."
Ball stressed the purpose of having the wall at a school to teach the students about veterans. He said Yorktown High School was the first school to step up and offer to host the wall at its school. He commended McQuillan for his service to his country, as well as to his own town.
"I thank you, I thank the school for making this come together, and making this happen. I see the young leaders who are watching us now who are taking this extremely seriously, and I thank you for having us in your school," Ball said. "John personifies your typical veteran. He is seen at nearly every single community event."
Superintendent of Yorktown schools Ralph Napolitano said the experience of walking into school and seeing the faces of veterans teaches the students a lesson about democracy and their country's history.
"I think it really helps the students to recognize that so many people before them have really contributed to keeping the principals of democracy and liberty and freedom not only in our country but also around the world," he said. "I think it helps to make history come alive for them."