Veterans' stories 'are national treasures'

Cary Ashby • Nov 10, 2019 at 7:09 AM

MILAN — Edison High School students said hearing veterans’ stories is an important part of knowing history, so a committee of nearly 15 teenagers have put together an assembly.

Veterans are encouraged to attend the Veterans Day assembly at 1 p.m. Monday in the gymnasium. 

“We have multiple speakers,” senior Sarah Bursley said. 

One of those speakers will be community member Chuck Knight, who will represent the Berlin Heights American Legion. He served as a sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps. 

“Then my grandfather (Richard Gundlach) is going to speak about what Veterans Day means to him as a veteran,” said senior Haylee Bock, the daughter of David and Michelle.

A representative from the Erie County Veterans Commission is scheduled to speak also. After the assembly, the veterans are invited to the library for juice and cookies provided by the EHS Teen Leadership Corps (TLC) class.

Bock said she and her brother, freshman Waylen Bock, “wanted to do something for Grandpa because he always goes to the (veterans) assemblies.”

“It gives us an idea what veterans do for us. I figured it would continue to help high school students realize why veterans assemblies are important,” Waylen added.

A plaque will be presented to honor the nearly 30 Erie County veterans who are listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will read the meaning behind the 13 folds of the flag and will present and retire the colors.

There also will be musical performances. Sophomore Ella Wlodarsky will sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“We are having the show choir sing and two band members will play ‘Taps,’” Haylee Bock said.

Junior Vinnie Strong will read the meaning behind the solemn song. He said the most interesting fact he learned while doing research “for a few weeks” is that “Taps” came from the French idea for “tattoo” and is usually performed by one person.

“Our version of ‘Taps’ came from the American Civil War,” Strong added.

EHS hasn’t hosted a Veterans Day assembly in a couple years, so students on the committee said they decided it was an important event to start doing again.

“We are losing veterans' stories. … We need to share them, so future generations won’t lose those in our history,” Bursley said. 

TLC teacher Jenni Steel agreed.

“Their stories are a national treasure,” she said. “I don’t think people in our school realize how rare these stories are and we don’t want to lose them.”

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