The students of St. Rocco School in Johnston walked down the church isles holding photographs of veterans they loved.
The solemn march of respect paid tribute to the men and women who serve the nation.
“We respect them,” said student Brianna Moosey as she welcomed the worshippers who attended the Veterans Day Prayer Service in St. Rocco Church Wednesday morning. “We thank them. We honor them. We are proud of them. We pray to God to watch over these special people, and bless them with peace and happiness … thank you to all who serve this country.”
St. Rocco students left their usual school uniforms at home Wednesday, each paying a dollar to “dress down” in red, white and blue, to commemorate Veterans Day. The funds raised were donated to veterans’ charities.
Student Kate Gorgievski stood behind the lectern and read the celebrants in a prayer:
“Dear Lord, today we honor our veterans, worthy men and women, who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect our country. We pray that you will bless them for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us. Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting, moves to affirming life of every human being and so moves beyond war. Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer. Amen.”
Poetry readings were delivered by fifth-grader Samaira Dhamija, sixth-grader Matthew Beauregard, seventh-grader Alivia Poulin, and eighth-grader Marcos Diaz.
Students Alex Diaz Negron and Adrian Perez folded an American flag.
More students helped carry five other flags, each representing a branch of the military — the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard — to the front of the church.
Deacon Bob Troia, a Deacon at Saint Rocco Church for more than 40 years, spoke to those gathered.
“We have to continue to pray for our men and women in the service, those in blue, our firefighters, and all of those who give themselves to public service,” Troia told the audience. “Pray for them every day.”
Troia, a veteran himself, served in the U.S. Army.
“What is our freedom?” He asked the crowd. “Right here. You are in some place that if we didn’t have freedom, we would not be able to be here. This is freedom. This is what I worked for. This is what all these men have worked for, and women. So continue to pray for them. And when you see them on the street, or in a store, say ‘thank you.’ Thank you for giving yourself.”
Troia reminded the students to work hard for their nation.
“Our country is a great country, but it’s only great if we work for it,” he said.
Student Sydnee Walsh-Cirelli ended the service with a closing prayer:
“Thank you to all who served this country. To those who have fought for freedom; to those who laid down their lives for others; to those who have borne suffering of mind or of body; to those who have brought their best gifts to times of need. We entrust them and their families to you, Lord Jesus, and ask you to continue to watch over them, and over their dear ones through Christ Our Lord, Amen.”
Everlasting God, thank you that your ear is always attentive to our prayers. Hear our prayer for our military veterans today. Give them clear minds and peaceful hearts as you bless them for their service to us. May your divine love spread throughout their soul, saturating their whole being that they may be built up in your likeness.
Strengthen them through your limitless mercy and grace. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power and strength, be unto you our God forever and ever.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
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