By DANNY RESTIVO
While Air Force Maj. Brent J. Davis spoke to Liberty High School students in his dress-blue uniform, he reminded them that far more veterans no longer wear the same attire.
“The majority of veterans have gone on to become policemen, neighbors, teachers, parents, uncles,” he said. “They are among you every day.”
Davis, a public affairs officer with the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Air Station, was the guest speaker at Liberty High School’s gymnasium Friday for the annual Veterans Day program. He spoke to a venue full of students and other veterans from the community.
Angelo DelGenio, 89, of Girard was in attendance and exemplified Davis’ speech about veterans. DelGenio, a World War II Navy veteran, served in Pacific battles at Tarawa, Saipan, Guam and
Tinian. He said he joined the Navy because he didn’t want to get drafted into the Army. He initially was refused from service because his 137-pound frame was too small.
“It was around the Depression, so we didn’t eat too well then,” he said.
DelGenio was released from service in 1946 and returned home to work at U.S. Steel in McDonald. DelGenio’s distinguished military enlistment illustrated the veterans whom Davis referred to in his speech: extraordinary service members returning home as ordinary citizens.
“All of them have answered the call of duty,” said Davis. “They are the people who report to duty every day.”
Both of DelGenio’s sons served in the Vietnam War, while one grandson served in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. He believes high school veterans’ programs help young people learn how military veterans shaped our past and continue to shape our future.
Along with Davis’ speech, the high school band played Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force musical anthems. Friday’s program also allowed students to present artwork that depicted each branch of service.
David Sandorn, a sophomore, watched the ceremony with his fellow classmates. Although he’s not quite sure about military service, he believes ceremonies honoring veterans are still valuable.
“I don’t know if I’ll join, but doing things for veterans is still important for us,” he said.