Bugs Bunny captures attention at Holliman veterans ceremony



The students at Holliman Elementary couldn’t believe it. Bugs Bunny was an honorary member of the United States Marine Corps? Popeye the Sailor Man used to be Popeye the Coast Guardsman?

Indeed, Rep. Camille Vella Wilkinson had captured the young children’s attention in a way that often is difficult to do during the important ceremonies that occur around Veterans Day – like the one that occurred on Thursday morning at Holliman, as it does each year.

Mayor Joseph Solomon attempted to put the importance of the day in other words.

“If it wasn’t for our veterans, we wouldn’t have the freedom that we enjoy today,” he said to the large crowd of adults and students gathered. “You are the future, and we try to let you know how important it is to thank those who sacrificed to give us the freedom we enjoy now.”

Sacrifice was the crucial word, which Solomon helped drive home the importance of recognizing by inviting Holliman student Manny Parra and his father, Manuel, up to the front of the crowd. Both Manny’s father and mother service in the armed forces, and his father just returned from an overseas deployment recently. Manny said he felt better now that his dad was back safely with him.

“We can learn from the young people in this audience – they can let us know about some things we take for granted,” Solomon said.

Rep. Joseph McNamara shared another story of the importance of perspective, which involved his father – a World War 2 veteran – who served on Okinawa in the Pacific Theater. He recalled being on vacation with his father in the same place as other veterans, one of whom was Harry Kizirian, one of the most highly decorated Marines during World War 2, and the most highly decorated veteran from Rhode Island who also served on Okinawa.

McNamara recalled his father and Kizirian sharing words and experiences, with the two of them eventually laughing joyously as their families enjoyed the beach.

“They were smiling because they were both alive, with their families, in this great country,” McNamara recalled.

The ceremony made special mention of various armed forces veterans, many of whom were in attendance, and included a reciting of “A Grateful Nation” by Holliman 5th grade students. Rep. Vella Wilkinson presented Principal Joseph Coffey with a new American flag, which he presented to students Aidan Flanagan, Madeline Scott and Lily Smiley, who raised the school’s flag at the beginning of the ceremony.

Mayor Solomon reiterated the importance of such events, and thanked principal Coffey and the Holliman PTO for their continuing dedication to hosting and organizing the event.

“This has to be carried forward – it’s a pleasure to be here today to be able to say this today,” he said. “A simple ‘thank you’ to someone who has sacrificed for our country goes a long way.”




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Holliman Veterans ceremony ? This reads like a nicely-coordinated Democrat-party publicity event, using children as props. Rep. Camille Vella Wilkinson, Mayor Joseph Solomon, or Rep. Joseph McNamara get a mention in almost every paragraph. Thanks Beacon, this is so heart warming.

Thursday, November 14

bill123...I helped organize this lovely event. I personally invited all 9 Warwick City Council members, all of the Warwick School Committee members, the Mayor, the Superintendent of Schools in Warwick, the Director for Elementary Education in Warwick, State Representatives, State Senators, Congressman Jim Langevin, and many veterans from the Holliman community. The majority of our honored guests were the veteran relatives of our Holliman students. The guests mentioned in the article were the ones that spoke or made a presentation. This was a completely non-partisan and very moving ceremony for our children and their families. It honored many men and women who have served with honor and distinction. Your comments are petty, unseemly, and unwarranted.

Saturday, November 16

My comment is proper and warranted. It speaks for itself.

Saturday, November 16

bill123...Are you serious? An event focused on honoring local veterans and showing the next generation we should acknowledge those who volunteered service to country, and you think it's political? I attended the event. The veterans in attendance were called out individually and recognized for their service. Yes the speakers were from the Democratic party. They are the elected officials in Warwick who were elected by the citizens. The same system protected and defended by those same veterans honored at the ceremony!

And by the way Rep. Wilkinson is a veteran! It does not matter her party affiliation, she wore the uniform. That deserves our gratitude. It's a disgrace you see any event through a political lense and not recognize those who deserve our appreciation. And to add to Liz713 comments, yes your comments are petty, and pathetic.

Saturday, November 16

My comment was about the Beacon article, not the event itself. But I can also say this about the event:

A brief notice is posted on a calendar at https://holliman.warwickschools.org/. It states “All Holliman community members are welcome to attend”. No other persons are indicated. The notice doesn’t explain how or why the event was organized, or specifically why Holliman. A “see more details” link adds nothing. In spite of this notice, there is an appearance individual invitations were separately issued. If anyone really wants to honor veterans formally and officially, you should do it on that nationally designated day, called “Veterans Day”, not the middle of a busy school and work day, or, at least in a manner where it’s inclusive and open to everyone, rather than a by-invitation-only fashion. How many young children really want to attend a veterans ceremony ? Apparently none of them, according to the second paragraph. There is an appearance these school children were required or enticed to attend this event. There is an appearance the purpose of this event was to generate pandering press coverage. An elementary school provides an ideal controlled environment for such a scheme. It would be interesting to know exactly what Principal Coffey and the Holliman PTO were thinking when they (as reported) organized this event. Were they just thinking about all these insider-dignitaries they were going to invite ? I thought they had enough on their hands just managing the standard curriculum. As for the anonymous people who claim direct knowledge, please put it in a letter to the editor, rather than trolling valid concerns.

Sunday, November 17

bill123....I am overwhelmed at your short-sighted views. This is at least the 3rd Veterans Day ceremony put together by Holliman elementary school. All of the students take a flyer home inviting their family members who are veterans. All of the faculty and staff were also invited to have a special veteran (or veterans) in their life there. There were ~30 veterans present who are relatives of Holliman students, teachers, and staff - each one of them was recognized individually. The students LOVED sitting with their moms, dads, grandparents, etc. who were honored. Then, the students had a chance to have lunch with their special family members after the ceremony. I am beginning to wonder if you are merely upset that YOU were not" invited". If you are a community veteran and you felt left out, please let me know. I will make sure that you are included in this beautiful event next year.

Sunday, November 17

Commenter Liz713 wants to know if I am a “community veteran”. She probably means the “Holliman community”, as written on the school calendar, which is code-speak for something about the Holliman school, so I have no idea what she’s talking about. An issue that arises here, in addition to what I already pointed out, is here we have a person, Liz713, who apparently was acting in an official capacity regarding the subject matter, who publicly berates (“petty”, “short-sighted”) a member of the public for holding a different view, but then suggests differences can be worked out off-the-record, in private. There is an unwritten rule that says If you have an official duty, due to an election, appointment, or as a volunteer, you do not disparage the very people you are supposed to be serving, for simply holding their own views. Except this rule is too often shamelessly ignored, because we have what is called an entitled class, a deep state, that fundamentally changed the nature of our government. There should be no misunderstanding, my comments are about a public issue, not a private one.

Monday, November 18

at least da alimentary skuls had da 11th off. da elites of brown didn't take dat day to honor da vets.

maybes they wants to change it to indigenous peeples getting hurt by da us guvmint day. den dey would support it

Monday, November 18

Also, this event was designed for photo ops. One photo shows a uniformed USAF service member posing with an elected official, Mayor Solomon. It’s not clear if the uniformed person is actually a “veteran”, since he is wearing a uniform. I assume he is not (yet) a veteran. The uniform speaks for the entire service, so another concern I have is this political event improperly involves the US Air Force. Maybe we need to hear from the USAF on that.

Tuesday, November 19

A non-political event looks more like this: https://phs.warwickschools.org/2019/10/29/patriots-honoring-patriots/.

The Holliman event is an abuse, on several levels. The Beacon article was an end deliverable. I don't expect my comments to change anything. In Rhode Island it’s just business as usual.

Wednesday, November 20