St. Anselm students learn life lesson for Memorial Day

On the morning of May 23, in the basement of St. Anselm’s, students at the school learned about the sacrifices that members of the military make in serving their country.The event – which featured two Gold Star Mothers, whose sons were both killed in action — came about because Principal James McKeon, who was in the Marine Corps, wanted his students to realize the that Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer but they also need to remember those who sacrificed themselves for their country.Julie Schrock, whose son Marine Corporal Max Donahue — a dog handler — died in Afghanistan, spoke about the loss of her son and her pride for all he did for his country. The 23-year-old Donahue and his dog Fengi were out on patrol when an IED exploded, killing Donahue and injuring Fengi.Asked by a student when her son showed interest in joining the Marines, Schrock remembered that right after 9/11, Max was in eighth grade and he told me if he was old enough, he would have signed up right away to fight for our country. She said, As an American, I couldn’t be more proud, but as a mother, I couldn’t be more afraid.Schrock said that many people ask her, What can I do for your family? She said the only thing people can do is, Be sure to include the flying of our flag during this weekend and every day.Maria Samaniego, whose boyfriend Marine Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca, was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan at the age of 20, was asked by a student why she didn’t try to stop him from joining the Marines. Samaniego, who accompanied Montes De Oca’s mother Miriam, to the assembly, said, You can try to stop a Marine from serving his country but it will never work. Two of Montes De Oca’s brothers are currently deployed.The American Gold Star Mothers Inc., which was founded after World War I, is an organization that brings families together who have lost a son or daughter in any of America’s wars. The term Gold Star relates to service flags flown in the homes of families of servicemen and women. A blue star represents someone currently serving and a gold star, which is placed over the blue star, represents someone who had died in service.

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