Photo: Erin Kayata / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Royle School principal Dean Ketchum introduces Royle School veterans at a Veteran's Day ceremony in Darien, Conn. on Nov. 10, 2017.
Photo: Erin Kayata / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Royle School first grader Lucy Spellman raises the flag with her grandfather, Army veteran Michael Aldrich, at a Veteran's Day ceremony at the school in Darien, Conn. on Nov. 10, 2017.
Photo: Erin Kayata / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Sgt. Clinton Tarzia, an Army veteran and cousin of Royle school students Julianna and Jayden Harron, spoke at the school's Veteran's Day ceremony at Royle School in Darien, Conn. on Nov. 10, 2017.

DARIEN — Despite the frigid weather, children and teachers gathered outside Royle School on Friday to honor veterans for Veteran’s Day.

“My father served in the Marines Corps in the 1960s,”said Royle School principal Dean Ketchum. “He’d be happy to know we’re honoring veterans here today.”

Ten veterans related to Royle School students were also recognized and in attendance at the ceremony. Sgt. Clinton Tarzia, who served in the Army and has cousins at the school in second and fourth grade, spoke to the students about his service and thanked his fellow veterans for their service.

Tarzia, cousin to Julianna and Jayden Harron, served in Kirkuk, Iraq from September 2003 to April 2004, documenting events from the front line of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was also a paratrooper for the 982md Combat Camera unit out of Wilson, North Carolina and jumped out of a plane 20 times in full combat gear. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service.

He spoke to the students in his military gear, including a maroon beret which is a symbol of his work in airborne forces.

“We didn’t go to war because we love fighting,” he said. “We’re ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways.”

The Royle School chorus also performed several patriotic songs, including “Song for the Unsong Hero,” “God Bless America” and the National Anthem.

First-grader Lucy Spellman raised the flag with her grandfather, Michael Aldrich who served in the Army for nine years and was honored at the ceremony.

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Royle School family veterans

Master Sgt. Brian Hynes, U.S. Army

Father of Mai and Rori Hynes

Retired following both active duty and National Guard service

Military police

Paratrooper, 82nd Airborne Division

Served in the Middle East and Panama

Lt. Ted Huffman, U.S. Navy

Father of Jane and Nicholas Huffman

Served as a surface warfare officer, earning the rank of lieutenant

Deployed with the USS John F. Kennedy battle group to the Red Sea, serving as a boarding officer enforcing the UN blockade against Iraq in 1992-93

Performed numerous drug interdiction operations in the Mediterranean Sea, central Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

Capt. Michael Aldrich, U.S. Army

Grandfather of Lucy Spellman

Graduated from U.S. Military Academy (West Point) in 1972

Commissioned officer in the U.S. Army in the field artillery with both Airborne and Ranger training

Separated from active duty as captain after more than nine years of service

Charles Rose, U.S. Navy

Grandfather of Henry, Brady and Hudson Rose

Served from 1952-59

Based out of North Folk, Virginia with deployments from the North Atlantic down to the Panama and Suez Canals, as well as to the Mediterranean

Sgt. Lloyd Corbett, U.S. Army

Grandfather of James and Ronan Meade

Honorably discharged following active duty in the Infantry, 101st Airborne and 1st Division

Served in the Vietnam War

Capt. Wil Ward, U.S. Army

Father of Lucy and Elsa Ward

Four years active duty as combat engineer in the 10th Mountain Division (light infantry)

Part of Special Operations Command (U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command)

Brian Callahan, U.S. Marine Corps

Grandfather of Nora Callahan

Served with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967-69 in the U.S. and Germany

Attached to Marine Support Battalion, Company F

Robert Rentz, U.S. Air Force

Grandfather of Alexander, Ella and Lachlan Rentz

Served three years as a physician in the U.S. Air Force in Europe during WWII and in the U.S., treating military and dependent personnel

Sgt. Joseph Squeo, U.S. Air Force

Royle School fifth-grade teacher

After training, he was stationed at Yokota Airbase in Fussa, Japan from 1967-69

Staff Sgt. Clinton Tarzia, U.S. Army

Cousin to Julianna and Jayden Harron

A paratrooper with the 982nd Combat Camera unit based out of Wilson, North Carolina

Served in Kirkuk, Iraq from 2003-04, providing photo documentation for the military from the front line of Operation Iraqi Freedom

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata

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