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Gov. John Lynch thanks veterans for their service at the annual breakfast at the middle school. (ADAM SWIFT PHOTO)

Gov. Lynch tells students at Derry's West Running Brook Middle School he marvels at veterans' service

DERRY - There were heroes among the students Monday morning at the West Running Brook Middle School.

Every year, the school celebrates the sacrifices made by the town and state's many veterans, bringing in dozens of local residents who served the country for a special ceremony and breakfast.

Once again, Gov. John Lynch spoke during the ceremony and said he continues to marvel at the program the district puts on for veterans year after year.

"I wish I could shake the hand and talk to each and everyone who served in the military," said Lynch. "Each veteran has an amazing story to tell about their service, experience and sacrifice."

Lynch encouraged the students to reach out to the veterans and learn their stories, noting that many of the veterans were not much older than the middle school students themselves when they were first asked to protect American freedom in foreign lands.

"Veterans have sacrificed so much for us every single time our freedoms have been threatened around the world, and their sacrifices continue to this day," Lynch said. "They don't necessarily think of themselves as heroes, but we are here to tell each veteran here that they are heroes."

From parents to grandparents to neighbors, police officers, firefighters, and teachers, Lynch said veterans are people that the students know from their everyday lives.

To further that idea, West Running Brook Middle School Principal Leslie Saucier honored the 25 veterans working in the school district with the annual John Gilcreast Spirit of America award.

The award is given in honor of World War II veteran John R. Gilcreast Sr., the father of school secretary Judy Hatch.

First-year superintendent Laura Nelson praised the veterans working in the district and the ceremony itself.

"This is the best tribute to veterans that I have ever attended," said Nelson.

She said she was proud of the veterans in the district who served their country and now serve the children of Derry.

Other highlights of the ceremony included performances of the national anthem by the West Running Brook Eighth Grade Band and "In Flanders Field" by the eighth-grade chorus.

In a solo performance, eighth-grader Josh Gore received a standing ovation for his vocal performance of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA."

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