By Tim Harfmann
On the morning of Wednesday, May 22, the sound of cannons could be heard as U.S. Navy ships navigated New York City’s coastline to honor America’s heroes. It signaled the kick-off to the week-long Fleet Week celebration.
Students from Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge lined the Brooklyn shore to show their appreciation.
“They shouldn’t have to wait for the holidays to be shown that we appreciate them,” said Tommasina Cardone, a junior at the Catholic high school who said she is inspired by U.S. troops year-round.
To honor them, Tommasina started Fontbonne’s new ‘Students For Soldiers’ club, which raises money and sends care packages to the military.
Her two older brothers are in the Army and stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Tommasina understands what it’s like for service members far from home.
“I really feel for them, and I feel that it’s hard to be away from your family, especially being deployed or anywhere overseas,” she said.
This is a gesture that U.S. Army Veteran Christopher Lewis appreciates.
“In the military, we have a code. One of them is selfless service,” he said, “that’s what these students are actually doing. They are selfless serving, they’re not thinking about themselves.”
Isabella Chirico, also a member of ‘Students For Soldiers’, lives near Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton Army Base, which is a great vantage point for the parade of ships.
“I was speechless, it gave me goosebumps. I was very inspired by the amount of patriotism.”
The Catholic high school students welcomed the chance to spend time with the sailors from the Navy.
“If my time in the service means that I can pass on my knowledge, and that the future gets to learn academically and learn to support our maritime services; it’s truly a blessing,” said Navy officer Alfredo Rosario.
Having enlisted in the navy two years ago, the Bronx native serves on the U.S.S. Virginia submarine.
“For a lot of people, they don’t really know what happens when we’re out to sea,” he said,
“and for them to see the technology, it allows them to want to be interested.”
Chirico dreams of attending a military academy and joining the R.O.T.C., while Tommasina wants to be a military doctor.
“Because I feel like if I need to help anyone, it would be our military members,” said Tommasina
This is the kind of service these students look forward to in the future, as they honor the selfless sacrifice of today’s military.