For Memorial Day, Ellicottville Elementary School teacher Bill Delity asked his fourth-grade class to come up with a project that honors the true meaning of Memorial Day.

One of his students, Isabella Wilder, took it upon herself to interview two local veterans during the Ellicottville Memorial Day Parade and write up a report.

Read on to see what Isabella found out and what the veterans she talked to had to say.

Have you ever wondered what Memorial Day means to a veteran? Well, I had an extra credit assignment from my teacher, Mr. Delity, and decided to find out for myself!

Our class had many options to choose from for a Memorial Day project, so I decided to be a reporter! I attended the Memorial Day parade in Ellicottville and interviewed two Veterans.   

I first interviewed a United States Army Reservist Dental assistant, Mr. John Burrell.

I asked him what Memorial Day means to him and he replied, “It gives you an opportunity to remember the people killed in action.”

I was very curious as to how he kept in touch with his family while serving in the Army, so I asked him what did you do?

He said, “Letters mostly, and payphones also.”

While listening to Mr. Burrell, I also found out for his assignment that he helped the dentist work on people in the military.

Before ending our conversation, I asked him if there was anything else that he would like to tell me and he said, “Just that we are very dependent on our military not only to defend our country but to preserve our culture as well.”

The second person I interviewed was Mr. Wally Holland. He was a Common Wealth Division Officer in Korea.

He told me that he and one other man was chosen out of 5,000 men to go to Japan for this special job. He worked in collections, which means that he took care of contents that were in uniforms after a veteran died in the war. He took great honor in this job.

I asked him if he was drafted or if he enlisted. He said when he was 19, he was drafted and had to go. Mr. Holland said that he is proud to be in this nation and that Memorial Day reminds him of what a great country this is.

I’m very grateful that I had this opportunity to speak with these veterans about their tales. I’ve learned that Memorial Day is not just about barbeques, parades and a day off of school, but of honoring those who have fallen in action.

All veterans have their own story to tell with each being just as important as the next.

Thank you, Mr. Burrell, Mr. Holland and all veterans for your service.

Also, thank you, Mr. Delity for giving me this assignment.