Several of my veteran friends and I were privileged to speak about the Vietnam War to a few sophomore, junior and senior history classes at Naugatuck High School on May 16 and 21. Teachers Maria DaSilva and John Tenney have asked me the past few years to arrange these talks, and it has been a pleasure to address the students and answer their questions about our service.
I am a U.S. Air Force veteran and I was joined last month by Phil Arcuri (U.S. Navy), Larry Leblanc (U.S. Army), Mike Devivo (U.S. Marine Corps), and Frank Edmonds (U.S. Air Force, retired). Others who have participated the past few years are John Mitchell (U.S. Navy), Bob Froelick (U.S. Air Force), and last year, my grandson Bobby Genovese joined us and spoke about his experience with the U.S. Army during his two tours in Afghanistan.
All of us were very impressed by the attention paid to us by the students and the questions they asked after our presentations. However, last month was particularly impressive because after I spoke about the purpose of the POW/MIA Awareness Vigil, which will be held on the Green this Saturday, June 15, 15 of these students volunteered to act as mock prisoners of war and spend an hour shackled in a bamboo cage to honor American veterans who went to war and, to date, have never been accounted for.
The veteran’s community in Naugatuck, the high school faculty and students, and citizens of Naugatuck should be proud of this display of patriotism demonstrated by these students. Please come down to the Green this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to see them as they spend their time in mock captivity. They deserve your recognition. The vigil will start at 8 a.m. and conclude at 6 p.m.
“Freedom is not free.”