PS 216 shows its true colors with a concert for Veteran’s Day

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Students cheer during a roll call of wars participated in by the U.S.
True-blue pre-kindergarten students J.P. Lombardi (left) and Seby Diagonosto sing their sweet hearts out.
A color guard member is visibly touched as he arrives in a procession.
Flatbush vet George Boston stands to attention.
A special guest delivers a tall salute to fellow freedom fighters.

If you love freedom, thank a vet.

Pint-sized patriots at PS 216 made a grand show of their gratitude by delivering a mega-watt Veteran’s Day salute to Brooklyn’s war heroes, complete with a brass band concert, true-blue dances, and a roll call of all the wars participated in by the U.S. since its formation.

They couldn’t wait to show their true colors!

Pre-kindergarten students J.P. Lombardi and Seby Diagonosto, both 4, sang up a sweet storm alongside their classmates, all of them dressed in red, white and blue boaters, and waving the Stars and Stripes for the 17th annual soldier boost on Nov. 23, which saw the special guests arrive with pomp.

The audience was visibly moved as dozens of members of the 79-year-old Kings County Council Jewish War Veterans, the American Legion Marlboro Post 1347, and other veteran groups entered in a procession led by the Kings County Council Color Guard, comprised of Jack Holzman, Irwin Beck, Anton Gancz, Philip Dorf, Sidney Goldberg, and Harold Engelmann.

This year’s tribute was dedicated to late Post 1347 Commander Patrick Malone, whose help teacher Ann Pollack had sought when she first emerged with the idea of a celebration for freedom fighters at the Gravesend school — a tradition also inspired by Pollack’s uncle, a World War II vet, and her father, an engineer who helped build the battleship U.S.S. Missouri — on whose storied deck the treaty to end World War II was signed.

The retired educator returned last week to reiterate one of her favorite messages from the podium: “It’s never too early to instill a feeling of patriotism in young children.”

It seems to be working, because national pride is very much in evidence at PS 216, where visitors are greeted in the lobby by a display of a soldier with the pledge, “We support our troops.”

The sentiment has a far reach, according to Principal Celia Kaplinsky.

“When you teach a child patriotism, you teach a whole generation, and when you help a child, you help a whole family,” she said.

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at or by calling (718) 260-2529.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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