An indomitable American spirit speaks at SWR High School

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Pride and examples of patriotism were in the forefront of an early Veterans Day assembly held at Shoreham-Wading River High School, when the 11th grade U.S. history classes welcomed guest speaker Suffolk County Police Officer Matias Ferreira.

With the Patriot Guard holding American flags, student Alexandra Meli performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” to great applause before Ferreira took the podium. A recent graduate of the Suffolk County Police Academy, Ferreira was a Marine Lance Corporal machine gunner with the 1st Battalion 8th Marines on his first deployment when he lost both legs and broke his pelvis after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011.

His candid talk about his life’s journey and new career as a police officer followed several guest speakers who spoke words of reverence for him and all military service members.

“Having students understand the social, political and economic forces of all modern wars is the educational goal of the course,” said teacher Ruth Squillace, who coordinated the event. “To engage them with veterans of these wars provides actual context to the curriculum.”