Carmel Del Mar honors those who served


Under the flagpole at Carmel Del Mar School on Nov. 7, the school held their annual Veteran’s Day ceremony to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who have served their country.

Principal David Jones said that he was not surprised by the large turnout of community and family members.

“People come up to me, often times with tears in their eyes, to say ‘this is my favorite assembly,’ ” Jones said.

Fourth graders, wearing white T-shirts, jeans and red handkerchiefs tied around their necks, led a parade of 25 veterans.

From many wars

There were mothers, fathers and grandfathers and neighbors of Carmel Del Mar. One had served during World War II, one had fought with the Army in Vietnam and one was a Navy pilot during Desert Storm.

One grandfather was a 29-year member of the Korean air force and another father had been a French marine.

Carmel Valley resident Francesco Tessitore was one day away from ending his 10-year service in the United States Marine Corps. Tessitore, the father of second grader Donatella and fourth grader Isabella, had served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Friendly coincidence

Four years ago on Veteran’s Day, Tessitore said he was going door-to-door in Fallujah with Sgt. Jeff Sterling, a police officer at Carmel Valley’s Northwestern Division. Sterling was at the event - on duty as a police officer.

Tessitore said it was an honor to serve his country and after everything he did and saw in combat, he knows there’s nothing he can’t achieve in life.

While one man was ending his service to his country, another man’s journey was just beginning.

Cheers for ensign

Carmel Del Mar class of 1997 graduate Logan Peck, son of music teacher Cinda, announced he is now an ensign in the Navy. He said he was headed to Florida this week for training.

He was met with a loud cheers from his Carmel Del Mar family, as well as praise from his father Rod, a former Navy pilot who was among the veterans present.

A five-piece Marine Corps brass band from Camp Pendleton treated the students and veterans to a small concert, playing the military hymns for each branch and closing with the moving “Taps.”

The fourth grade students returned the favor, singing a song to the veterans.

“We honor those who served,” they sang. “Those who answered the call and gave themselves for us all. Fighting for freedom and truth, justice and peace, our country and for liberty.”