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Pregame Ceremony Honors Veterans

Pregame Ceremony Honors Veterans

On Saturday, November 11, the St. Sebastian’s community observed Veterans Day by honoring alumni, as well as faculty, staff, and former staff, who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Following a reception in Martin Hall, Headmaster Burke offered remarks prior to the football and soccer games, paying homage to our veterans, alive and deceased, who have allowed our country to remain free and safe. Accompanying Headmaster Burke at 50-yard line was the Needham VFW, who provided a Color Guard for the national anthem sung by Derron St. Marie ‘24; thank you for your wonderful rendition, Derron. 

Fr. John Arens, school Chaplain, and Andrew Maxwell ’06,served as honorary co-captains during the coin toss of the football game. Fr. Arens served in the Marine Corp and Navy as a Chaplain, retiring as Lieutenant Commander. Maxwell is a graduate of the United States Military Academy-West Point. Upon graduation, Maxwell was deployed to the Middle East where he served as a member of the U.S Special Forces as a Green Beret and retired as an Army Captain.

We also recognize and thank these veterans for joining us: Joe Clark ‘07 (Army), Dave Cornish (USMC/former faculty), Julie Duddy (Air Force/faculty), Stephen Salomone (Army/faculty), Bob Souza (Army/former faculty), and Joe White’ 73 (Navy). 

In addition to honoring those in the military, senior fall athletes were recognized with their families as part of the pregame ceremony. Thank you, Arrows, for your unwavering dedication and leadership displayed toward your respective teams. 

Congratulations to the St. Sebastian’s football team for ending their season with a 35-12 win over Thayer Academy. Additionally, the cross country and soccer teams turned in two impressive feats: the Arrows cross country team finished #1 of 23 teams in the Division III NEPSTA race, and with their 2-0 victory against Thayer Academy, the soccer team clinched a berth in the NEPSAC tournament as the #8 seed.

Headmaster Bill Burke's speech from the day is below.

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We thank you seniors on our cross-country, football, and soccer teams for leading by example and, when necessary, by exhortation; you have exuded and inspired all that is good, true, and beautiful about athletic competition and school spirit, and we love you for it. And we thank your parents and grandparents and siblings for their demonstrations of unconditional love and support.

Love…Freedom…Unity: Three things we all devoutly desire. 

LOVE: As we shared in Church on Thursday, G.K. Chesterton asserts that the good soldier fights not because he hates what’s in front of him but because he loves what’s behind him. We thank our veterans for loving us.

FREEDOM: As current parent, Admiral Wally Massenburg, shared two days ago: FREEDOM ISN’T FREE. We thank all veterans, living and deceased, for loving our country and all of us, for protecting us, and for the many told and untold sacrifices they have made and continue to make for us.

UNITY: We are truly one nation under God. May we follow our veterans lead by forever striving to maintain and strengthen the bonds that hold us together. We thank our veterans for uniting us in our great country – the best country on earth!

We welcome today’s honorary captains, United States Army Captain, Andrew Maxwell, a 2006 graduate of St. Sebastian’s School and 2011 graduate of West Point, and United States Marine Corps veteran Father John Arens, who has served as St. Sebastian’s School’s Chaplain since 1990. Let us express our gratitude to Andrew and Father John for their years of heroic service.

In a moment, I’ll hand the microphone to St. Sebastian’s Senior, Derron St. Marie, who will sing our National Anthem. 

(We welcome our guests from Thayer Academy.) Kindly remove your caps. Let us pray. Gracious and loving God, the giver of all good gifts, we thank you for the opportunity to engage in athletic competition. We pray that no one on any of the teams suffers a serious injury, that we perform with courage and confidence and determination, and that we compete and support with honor and dignity and respect for all players, fans, and officials. May we all honor our commitment to cheer for and not against. Amen!