SCRANTON — A group of Abington Heights High School students, comprised of members of the school’s marching band and dance team, gave up a portion of their day off on Friday, Nov. 10 in observance of Veterans Day to visit with and perform for residents at the Gino Merli Veterans Center.
The activity was initiated by student Nina Sampogne, who explained she figured, “What better way to celebrate Veterans Day than to share it with veterans?
“There has been so much controversy regarding our flag in the last several months,” Sampogne said in an email. “Athletes standing, sitting, kneeling. I couldn’t help but to wonder how our veterans were feeling about this. They had sacrificed so much. I wanted to let them know that I supported them.”
Sampogne took the idea to Band Director Jake Arnold, who was “very supportive,” and asked other band members to sign up, resulting in a “great turnout.”
“I am honored to be a member of the Abington Heights Marching Band,” Sampogne said. “Sure, we could have slept in that day because school was closed due to the holiday, but we all came together for a great cause. We wanted to let our local veterans know that we stand for our flag, we stand for our veterans and we are so very thankful for the freedom they have given us.”
The students performed for an hour, playing patriotic tunes, along with stand songs and music from the field show. Sampogne said one veteran, an Abington Heights graduate, even danced along with the dance team to “Wipeout.”
The students also addressed 160 “thank you” cards, which they handed out while visiting with the veterans in attendance.
“A memory I will never forget was when we played the national anthem and so many disabled veterans struggled to stand,” Sampogne said. “They are so proud to be Americans and they were so grateful to have us there.”
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.