Speaker: Trumbull students owe veterans 'to do the best you can'

TRUMBULL — There's a quote that Dan Sacco likes from the writer Maya Angelou: "If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going."

Sacco, a Trumbull resident and U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War, said it's an apt quote for Veterans Day.

Sacco was the keynote speaker at a Veterans Day assembly that took place Friday in the Trumbull High School auditorium. About 600 high school seniors, and about 25 local veterans, attended to pay tribute to those who served their country and, in some cases, died while doing so.

Sacco said everyone sitting in the auditorium Friday was there partly because of the sacrifices of those who came before them — in some cases, a few generations before them.

"I stood upon the shoulders of your great grandparents," he said, and went on to discuss the achievements of those who some call the "Greatest Generation."

Sacco said this group survived the economic collapse of the Great Depression, and then, many of them went on to fight in World War II. He spoke of the many who fought and died in this and other wars, and said multiple times that these soldiers "gave up their tomorrows for our today."

"You owe them to do the best you can in life," Sacco said to the high school students gathered before him.

The school hosts a Veterans Day event every year, said Ray Baldwin, former Trumbull first selectman and himself a veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He said, back when students got Veterans Day off from school, the holiday seemed to be in danger of being lost.

Trumbull, Baldwin said, was a leader in making Veterans Day a school day again, and using that time in school to learn about what the holiday means. Events such as the one that took place at Trumbull High School on Friday are essential, he said.

"If you don't (have these events), you forget the sacrifices that are made," he said.

 Those sentiments were acknowledged by another one of Friday's speakers, American Legion  Post 141 Commander Ernie Foito. 

"Veterans Day is for all veterans who have served," he said. "While many veterans are humble, there is no such thing as an insignificant service."

At the close of Friday's program, Trumbull High School Principal Marc Guarino thanked all the veterans who came.

"We really do appreciate your service and all you've given to us," he said.