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Children honor local veterans for sacrifices made for freedom

PLATTSBURGH John F. Kennedy once said, Liberty without learning is always in peril and learning without liberty is always in vain. Students of Kimberly Bouisseys fifth-grade class at Momot Elementary will never have to worry about learning in vain as long as they continue to learn from those who have helped security the liberties they enjoy today. For several years now, Mrs. Bouisseys students have been interacting with local veterans through the Robert A. Lafountain Post 179 chapter of Disabled American Veterans. The veterans are a familiar sight in their classroom, lending a hand with class projects and teaching them about history from a first-hand perspective. In continued appreciation for their efforts, the veterans and some active duty soldiers were honored by students with wreathes donated by Prays Farmers Market, decorated with ribbons donated by Lakeshore Candy and Flowers, at Prays Dec. 14. During the annual ceremony, student Jenna Worley recited A Different Christmas Poem, a poem by Michael Marks which discusses Christmas through the eyes of a military serviceman. Fellow student Risha Sheni followed with a thank you to the men and women for the sacrifices they made to make a better world. Were all appreciative of what youve done for our country, she said. If it werent for all of you who fought or are fighting right now, we would not have our freedom. We are all so honored to live in a country you have fought for. The ceremony hit home with the crowd of more than a dozen veterans and servicemen who were in attendance. As Miss Worley recited her poem and as Miss Sheni gave the class personal thanks, even those who appeared to be the toughest of men found themselves at a loss for words. This means a lot, said Korean War veteran Paul Dumas. We didnt get anything when we came home [from the war], not even a thank you. Cpl. Timothy Lemieux, who is stationed at Cherry Point, N.C., with the United States Marine Corps. Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron Provost Marshals Office, was also in attendance and received a wreath from the children. Though a man several years Mr. Dumas junior, the young Marine felt just as honored the children thought of people such as him. It really means a lot for me and my family, said Cpl. Lemieux, a Dannemora resident whose brother Ryan is also serving overseas with the U.S. Army. Its really nice for them to be remembered, added Lisa Lemieux, Timothy and Ryans mother. Lester Favreau, who is serving with the 1-71 Calvary Regiment stationed at Fort Drum, is currently serving in Iraq and couldnt be there for the ceremony, though his mother, Jane, gladly accepted the wreath on his behalf. This is wonderful, said Mrs. Favreau. Hes been in the Army six years and this is his second tour in Iraq. This will lift him up. Mrs. Favreaus son wasnt aware of the ceremony, though she said she would send him a picture before he comes home for an 18-day leave in January. She said she knows he will be appreciative of the students gift and she is looking forward to his return. I told him when he comes back he has to take the snow with him, Mrs. Favreau said with a laugh. The wreath ceremony has been an annual project for about five years, said Mrs. Bouissey, as part of the Learn and Serve America program through the Champlain Valley Family Center. The event integrates with a history curriculum she teaches throughout the year, which invites the veterans in to share their knowledge with the students. The veterans are good friends of ours, said Mrs. Bouissey. They come in, develop a friendship with the kids and we discuss what veterans are. A lot of kids dont know what they are and with the war going on now, the kids hear about it. This is just a way for them to be recognized and appreciated like they should be and know theyre never forgotten. It teaches the kids a lot about our country and the freedoms we have today. Mrs. Bouissey knows herself about the sacrifices made for freedom. Her son, Christopher, is also serving with the Army overseas in Afghanistan. Since he has already been injured, Mrs. Bouissey worries about him every day. Its been really hard because hes my only son, said Mrs. Bouissey. But, he is very proud to serve our country and hes really happy that Im doing this. And I love doing this. These kids need to learn about history and these sorts of things. Its very important.

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