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US Flags Planted on Harrison High School Lawn

HARRISON, N.Y. – American flags are flying proudly on the front lawn of Harrison High School to honor veterans before the school marching band leaves to play in the Pearl Harbor parade in December.

Community members purchased flags for $40 apiece to help the band raise money for its trip to Hawaii. School and elected officials as well as veterans were on hand to show their support and say thank you to the band for the honor.

“Patriotism is not only the love of one’s country but the desire to make it better,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Gruber of the United States Air Force, a Harrison resident. “Patriotism can be service to others. You can make someone feel less lonely and make aspects of life easier for them.”

County Executive Rob Astorino was on hand to congratulate the marching band who will be the sole representative from New York State at the parade to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

“The Pearl Harbor Memorial is a constant reminder of the attacks not only on Pearl Harbor but on similar attacks as well,” Astorino said, referencing Sept. 11 as a similar context for the younger generation.

On hand as a guest of honor was Armando “Chick” Galella, a survivor of Hickam Field, which sits adjacent to Pearl Harbor. Galella, who was 19 at the time of the attack, remembered having breakfast that fateful morning in 1941 before “all hell broke loose.” With tears in his eyes, Galella described the attacks and asked the band to “pray for those boys” who were killed on that day.

High school marching band member Serena Takada said that veterans in communities across the country are often overlooked. She said that this trip is meant to say thank you to all those who have served America.

“We are proud to represent veterans, our town and our state in the parade,” Takada said. “We will carry the pride of American veterans with us.”

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