A high school in Deep River is honoring fallen heroes who've made the ultimate sacrifice through serving the country.
Valley Regional High School held a ceremony on Friday, just days ahead of Memorial Day.
It paid tribute to the 14 young men from town who were killed in World War II.
"When they play the taps, it gets me every time," said Herbert Kurze. or the national anthem."
Kurze was one of the veterans who attended the ceremony. He called one of the 14 a close friend.
"I am proud," he told Eyewitness News. "And I hope be here again another year."
Students gave speeches about each fallen hero.
In attendance were those heroes family members.
Eyewitness News was able to speak with them after the ceremony. While they called they are extremely proud, they called it a bittersweet day for them.
“It was wonderful, it was wonderful," said Althea Robida, whose brother was honored. "It was sad and it was happy. And I think it’s a glorious thing that they did and I think the kids sitting up there learned an awful lot.”
Also, at the high school is a memorial plaque with their 14 names and 14 trees planted in their memory.
"I think it was good for the kids [and] good for us," Robida said. "It was an honor to be here."
For students past and present, it was a reminder of the past and something they see every single day.
"Ever since I was a little kid in elementary school, I would always hear the speeches on Memorial Day," said Emily Relensky, a junior. "And I would always think about this dollar bill that my mother had, from my grandfather."
When it was time for Relensky to give her speech, she clutched that bill and shared why Memorial Day is so important to her.
"When I turn it over, written in the blue and black ink, my grandfather listed some of the places he visited over the course of his four years, four months, and eight days with the U.S. army," she said.
While there's a lot of pride that comes with service and sacrifice, for Dolores Alborghetti, she said not a day goes by that she doesn't think of her older brother.
A man, like many of these fallen heroes, who had so much life to live.
"He was a really good guy and it's just too bad that had to happen," Alborghetti said.
At the end of the ceremony, the principal challenged the students to three things.
One, speak with their families and friends about those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Two, share something they learned at this ceremony. Finally, thank a veteran for their service.
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