Thousands of students, faculty and community members will pack the Windsor High School gymnasium Monday morning to recognize, remember and celebrate the town’s rich military heritage during the second annual Veterans Day Celebration.
The event will not only honor a long line of the area’s servicemen and women — it will pay special tribute to Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Birdwell, a 2005 Windsor High School graduate who was killed by small arms fire while serving in Afghanistan in August.
“When it comes down to affecting one of our own in the town of Windsor, it affects us all,” said Scott Romme, head of the school’s booster club, which is presenting the event. “The loss of Chris this year was a loss for the entire community. It affected everybody here.”
Marine Corps Maj. Isaac Moore will address the crowd as the guest speaker, and the color guard will be presented by the U.S. Marine Corps. The school’s marching band and choir also will perform.
“I think as a community, there is a sense of gratefulness, and there is a sense of respect to those people who have served,” Romme said.
When helping to organize the event last year, he said people from all aspects of the school and community agreed there was a need to “reinvent how we recognized” Veterans Day.
In a display of community unity, elderly members from a nearby retirement home will be bused to the event — an important move that will bridge the generational gap with young students, Romme said.
The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 10:15 a.m., and the one-hour ceremony will start at 10:50 a.m. With more than 2,000 people expected, Romme urged people to arrive early.
“It’s not something we have to do or feel obligated to do,” Romme said of the event. “It’s our honor to do that. The programs will reflect that from the music to the speakers to the recognition of Staff Sgt. Birdwell.
“It will all come out in the program how indebted we are to those veterans,” he said.