Thank You Veterans!

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Men and women who served in the armed forces were honored throughout the Westerville City School District this week where many buildings held assemblies, welcomed guest speakers and hosted celebrations of thanks in observance of Veterans’ Day.  A few examples follow.

Heritage students and staff showed their PRIDE by honoring Westerville area veterans at an all-school assembly on Friday, November 11.   Several weeks before the event, pupils were asked to choose one of the military core values to live by – Respect, Duty, Honor, Service, Loyalty, Integrity and Courage.  They wrote about their word and sent letters to veterans and active service men and women.  They also collected thousands of items that will be packed into care packages for troops who are serving, and presented them to a Marine Corps Family Support Community representative.  The 7th and 8th grade choirs (directed by Kim Marcum) and the 8th grade band (directed by Chris Kuhn) provided patriotic music.  More than 1,000 students stood at attention for the flag, said the Pledge of Allegiance, and sang the National Anthem. 

Walnut Springs continued a long standing tradition for Veterans’ Day as the students welcomed “G.I. Joe” on Friday, November 11.  Walter Link, a World War II veteran, has come to tell his story to pupils there for the past 14 years.  Link, who served as First Lieutenant in the Army Infantry during WWII, received the American Campaign Medal, the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, WWII Army of Occupation Service Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.  Social Studies teacher Jeffrey Holmes started the program by reading the poem, In Flanders Field.  Students then recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  Link told his story of serving in WWII to the students under the guise of his friend, “G.I. Joe,” who had several near- misses during combat as well as success while directing and his platoon in Germany from 1943 to 1945.  His identity was revealed at the end by his daughter, retired Westerville City Schools teacher Nancy Palumbo.  The audience listened intently and asked wonderful questions.   Afterwards, pupils got to browse through Link’s artifacts, which chronicled his days of military service.

More than a dozen veterans gathered at Pointview Elementary School on Monday to join students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance around the flagpole outside.  Afterwards the service members were assigned to individual classrooms, where they shared their stories, showed memorabilia, and answered many questions from lots of inquiring young minds.  The hallways were adorned with notes of thanks written on red, white and blue stars and each veteran received letters of appreciation before they departed. 

At Westerville Central High School, history teachers focused on a variety of special topics including the purpose of Veterans’ Day, issues veterans face, a review of U.S. wars, contributions of women, minorities, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community to U.S. military history, and post-traumatic stress disorder.