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Jillian McCalvey, center, poses with her mother, Denise, and her grandfather, Ray Martineau, at the Goffstown High School Veteran's Day program Tuesday. (Kathy Remillard/Union Leader Correspondent)

Goffstown High School students honor veterans at ceremony

GOFFSTOWN - Students at Goffstown High School had an opportunity to honor veterans at a special event at the school Tuesday.

Student Council members organized the schoolwide event to show their appreciation to those who served and welcomed soldiers from all branches of the armed forces who were involved in conflicts from World War II, Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The program featured music from Goffstown High music students, poetry and recognition of all veterans present.

"It's an excellent event that they put on here," said guest speaker Mike Pelletier, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.

Pelletier, who completed two tours of duty in the past decade, told students that the United States has endured threats and challenges but has gained many opportunities, all because of American veterans.

Pelletier said veterans have supported their country through threats of all kinds, from those presented by foreign nations to nuclear and biological threats.

"We are truly lucky to be here today based on those past threats," he said.

Pelletier reminded students that there are many opportunities for youth today, and that they have veterans to thank for making them possible.

"We remember veterans who have gone before us and the opportunities they have provided," he said.

Before the formal program, students interviewed veterans to formulate brief biographies that were read during individual recognitions of service, with some students introducing their own family members.

"Thank you for serving, Grandpa," said student Jillian McCalvey, recognizing her grandfather, Ray Martineau.

McCalvey said she looks forward to the event each year.

"I just think it's a great event," she said. "The veterans love coming, and we love having them."

Air Force Master Sgt. Dan King, whose daughter, Laura, is vice chair of the event committee, said he is impressed with the efforts students put into the service each year.

"The students are completely in charge of this," he said. "They do a great job."

Students learned from the many stories their guests shared.

"I thought it was pretty inspirational," said Justin Poisson, who interviewed 89-year-old Gordon Johnson. "He had a lot of really good stories."

"Veterans Day is very important to me," said Kim MacPhail. Her father served in the military, and currently, her cousin is serving in Afghanistan. MacPhail said she is aware of how hard it is for him and his family here at home, and she said it is important for students to recognize those who served their country.

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