Seniors Show Solidarity at Former Soldier's Funeral

Five CJ seniors showed their respect and appreciation for an almost forgotten military veteran Friday, Jan. 14, by attending the former soldier’s funeral—whose family could not be identified—on the grounds of the Veteran Administration’s US Dayton National Cemetery.

Not much was known about the man who served from 1971 to 1974 and passed away at the age of 64, but when Kelli Kinnear, director of ministry and service, was contacted by funeral director Terry Deters, she realized the CJ community could do something for the deceased United States serviceman. Kinnear asked Tony Ricciuto, social studies teacher, if he wanted to take a group of students to the military honors funeral ceremony and Ricciuto obliged, choosing five seniors from his American Government class to attend the morning services.

“It is one thing to teach in class, but it’s another thing to go out and participate in something like that,” he said. Together, the six from CJ acted as pallbearers, carrying the veteran to his final resting place.  Representatives from the United States Air Force played “Taps,” performed the traditional flag-folding ceremony, and presented the flag to student April Grierson, who accepted it on behalf of the man’s relatives.

“It was sad that he didn’t have family, but I was glad we could go there to show respect for all he has done,” she said. Grierson and her classmates Breauna Peterson, Alex Boyer, Tony Bishop and LaFerris Wright returned to school with the flag, which will be displayed in Mr. Ricciuto’s classroom.

“I didn’t know this man, but he gave so much for us that this was the least we could do for him.”