Seward honors its local veterans

“You are the future of America. There’s nothing you can’t do!”

Those were the words of JR Pillmeier, S.S. Seward Institute Class of 1947 as he addressed the school’s entire student body at the Veterans Day celebration on Wednesday.

An older man, wearing navy blue jacket and a cap from a veterans organization, stands at a wooden podium with an S.S. Seward banner on it. Behind him are high school girls listening and a woman with her arms up cheering.

Pillmeier was one of the seven local veterans in attendance at the ceremony, where several spoke to the students about their time in service to our country.

Pillmeier joined the Air Force the year after he graduated and by 1949 he was in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. By the time he was discharged in 1954, he had been all over the United States. He encouraged the students to take pictures of their friends and Main Street. “No matter where you go in life, you’ll remember your school days.”

A man is seated. He is holding a cane at his side and has a cap on signifying he is a veteran. In front of him are donuts and cookies on a table. There five high school students standing around him listening to him talk, all looking at him directly. The students are wearing masks.

Veteran Fray Fuller, a 1969 graduate of Seward agreed with Pillmeier, telling the story that while stationed in Vietnam he painted “Florida, NY” on his truck.

“I’m a Spartan. I’ll always be a Spartan,” he commented. “Florida is a good place to be.”

Two middle school boys stand outside, a brick building behind them and a blue sky. On the left the boy is wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and blue mask. He is holding an American flag. The boy on the right is wearing a blue jacket, green shirt and a blue mask.

The veterans present today were:

  • JR Pillmeier
  • Frey Fuller
  • Bob Scott
  • Jim Sosler
  • Glenn Kleveno
  • John Galiski
  • John Cutrona

A group of five high school girls stand by two microphones. There is a brick building in the background and a flagpole with the American flag at the top. There are three older men saluting.

The Seward Choir sang a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner to open the morning’s ceremony, before Principal Susan Moore welcomed the students, staff and most importantly the veterans to the annual ceremony. She provided a history of Veterans Day, thanked the veterans for their service and welcomed them to share their experiences with the students.

A middle school boy wearing a blue, white and gray hoodie and a blue mask shakes hands with an older man in a wheelchair, wearing a cap signifying he was a member of the army. He is wearing a facemask as well.

At the conclusion, the students ushed past the honored guests, shaking hands and giving them fist bumps, many thanking each of them for their sacrifice for our country.

A line of high school students walk past a line of older men who are veterans. They are fist bumping them as they pass. All have masks on.