As students enter the hallway for the next week, they will be greeted by a traveling exhibition called "The Veteran's Wall of Fame," which displays the names, photos and biographies of veterans in New York's 40th District.
School district representatives, high school students and Yorktown town officials attended the unveiling of the "Wall of Fame" Tuesday afternoon. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ralph Napolitano emceed the ceremony; students led the Pledge of Allegiance and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"We are very proud to display this 'Traveling Wall' that honors the military's best," Napolitano said. On behalf of the school district, he thanked Yorktown resident and veteran for his love for the country and its principles.
The wall was conceived of by State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson), who asked each town and village in his district to nominate an individual to be honored. The 27 nominees were recognized at a ceremony in November. The creation of the wall will help communities continue to remember their veterans.
"The Veterans whose faces grace this wall were nominated by their communities, hand-picked because they chose a path of courage, honor, integrity and bravery," Ball said. "It is wonderful that the students in those communities now have the opportunity to learn about each of these Veterans and their amazing stories."
Yorktown supervisor Michael Grace encouraged people, and especially the youth, to get involved and volunteer in their community. He called the veterans the "back bone of our freedom" and the greatest respect and thanks anyone could give them is through serving in their own community, he said.
"What they do for us is beyond words," Grace said. "We should respect them, show them your love and the best way you can do that in through community service. Go out there and make these guys proud because we're damn proud of them."
McQuillan said he felt honored to be placed on the wall and hopes students will stop by and read the veterans' biographies. He thanked the town of Yorktown, Senator Ball, the Yorktown school district and the commander of the American Legion for the honor.
Retired Sergeant John T. McQuillan served as a communications technician in the United States Air Force from 1966-1970. He has earned a Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Ribbon and Expert Marksman Award. He is a graduate of Pace University, and is also very active in the local veterans community. He is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 49 and has spent 26 years as a member of the Yorktown American Legion Post #1009.
The wall will tour local municipalities throughout the 40th district. The wall will be on display at Yorktown High School for a week before it moves to Haldane High School on Feb. 16. The Wall of Fame would also make stops at Hendrick on Hudson High School, Putnam Valley High School, Mahopac High School and Webutuck High School.