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Students learn about Veterans Day from Vietnam vet

Cary Ashby • Nov 8, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Vietnam War veteran Dick Carlisle asked the Pleasant Elementary students what does being a veteran mean.

“Someone who served in the war,” said one second-grader.

Carlisle said that was close. After taking a few more possible answers, the New Philadelphia man said a veteran is anyone who served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.

“You don’t have to be shot at or do any shooting; you just have to serve your country,” added Carlisle, who served in the Army with the 101st Airborne.

For 27 years, he was the Huron County veterans service officer.

Carlisle’s job in the Army was being an infantry man — a “ground pounder” he called it.

He showed the students the type of helmet he wore while in Vietnam. Referring it a “steel pot,” Carlisle said “bullets are supposed to bounce off this.”

“War is not a fun thing for anybody. War is always the last option,” he told the students. “That means a lot of people will die.”

During a question-and-answer session, several students asked about war.

“I think war will stop when people stop telling other people what to do,” said Carlisle, who stressed that peace can happen when people are tolerant of others’ beliefs. “Let people like they like and I like what I like.

“If there’s something you both want, make an agreement that makes you both happy,” the veteran added. “Some times war is fought over frivolous matters; sometimes it is fought over serious matters.”

Carlisle showed the students the type of a belt a soldier might wear. It held a canteen and a canteen cup.

“Like a little tea cup,” one second-grade girl was heard saying.

Carlisle taught the students there are two ways to show they respect veterans.

“They are very simple — very simple things to do,” he said.

One way to honor vets is to stop what you’re doing whenever you hear “The Star Spangled Banner.” Carlisle said the students should listen and then turn to where the national anthem is being performed or played.

“Stand there until the music stops playing,” he added. “People will be very, very inspired if you do that one thing.”

The other way to honor veterans and the United States of America is by putting your hand over your heart when you see the American flag. Upon hearing one student give that response, Carlisle seemed to get choked up for a brief moment. He paused before he began speaking again.

When seeing the American flag during a parade, Carlisle said it’s only necessary to hold your hand over your heart after the first color guard passes you.

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