RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Benjamin Franklin Middle School had its fourth annual Memorial Day Assembly Thursday, May 19.
This year’s remembrance featured guest speaker was Lt. Col. Scott Rutter, who spoke to students and faculty about a very special charity called Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which benefits the families of fallen soldiers.
The program also included recognition of two outstanding women soldiers, Ashley White and Marie Rossi. White was a member of the Cultural Support Team, consisting of women soldiers selected and trained to serve alongside special operation forces in direct combat.
White served on the battlefields of Afghanistan in 2011. She died in action Oct. 22, 2011 and is the subject of the recent book, “Ashley's War."
Rossi, a resident of Oradell, was the first woman in American history to serve in combat during the Persian Gulf War and the first woman pilot in U.S. history to fly combat missions.
She was killed when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter she was piloting crashed March 1, 1991 in Saudi Arabia.
Students also participated in the assembly program, with readings of the history of Memorial Day and selected poems.
The ceremony closed with a moving video tribute to the fallen and the dissemination of flags to everyone present.
As Mike Troy, a teacher at Ridgewood High School, played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, each student and staff member placed a flag on the outside lawn.
“It was a very solemn and beautiful closing to a meaningful celebration of Memorial Day,” said Benjamin Franklin Middle School teacher Mollie Van Horne.
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