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Protestant Home honors veterans with luncheon

St. Cecilia seventh- and eighth-graders served lunch to residents of the Philadelphia Protestant Home who served in the military.

The Philadelphia Protestant home on Monday hosted its annual Veterans Day luncheon to honor residents who served in the military.

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“We can’t thank you enough,” said Bill Conaway, director of community relations at Lawndale-based PPH, extending the thanks to the 20 million U.S. veterans..

The guest speaker was Municipal Court Judge Pat Dugan, a Pine Valley resident who heads veterans court. A St. Joseph’s Prep graduate and retired U.S. Army captain, he served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was introduced by PPH resident Frank Foster, a former neighbor in Fairmount.

“We have to honor the warrior, even if you disagree with the war,” Dugan said.

The luncheon observed the 100-year anniversary of World War I and included the national anthem and an invocation and benediction from the Rev. Al Concha, pastor at St. William Catholic Church. A collage of pictures of past luncheons was shown on a big screen, accompanied by patriotic and military songs.

St. Cecilia Elementary School seventh- and eighth-graders were the waiters and waitresses, serving the lunch, which featured roast beef, carrots, a baked potato and dessert. They also handed out magnets to the veterans signifying their service and thank you cards made by the fifth-graders.

Eighth-graders John Clark and Luke Zorawski read poems on honoring the American flag. Classmates Beyonce Reid, Gabriella Vu and Kara Meredith explained the meaning of a special Prisoner of War/Missing in Action table, set for one, with an empty chair.

Phil Grutzmacher, a 99-year-old resident, read the war poem In Flanders Fields by memory. ••

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