Source: Sherman Publications

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Learning from vets

by Andrea Beaudoin

November 13, 2013

From left, students Devan Patel, Jacob Klokeid and Simon Hunt speak with veteran Ron Burrill.
For about 30 ninth-graders, Veterans Day lessons included talking to veterans.

Ron Burrill, Vietnam War veteran explained to student Kalei Hubert how military ranks work. Students at the American Legion Post 63's veterans' luncheon, Nov. 8, also asked vets if being in war was a scary experience.

Burrill said it was a scary time for all who served in Vietnam, but he served in artillery so his experience was not as terrifying as men who served on the front line.

"I was miles away shooting rounds to help them out," he said. "You have been taught not to hurt someone all your life and then you go off to war and you are in a situation where it's you or them."

Students from Christine Rogers' 9th grade advanced history class attended to serve a lunch of pork tenderloin, roasted red potatoes, and green beans to veterans and visitors.

"It gives students a great chance to get to know veterans and ask questions," said Rogers.

This is the third year students have served veterans at the luncheon.

"We work closely with the senior center," she said. "Students are a little awkward at first, but then they sit down and listen to stories. It's fun to watch."

The event, which was sponsored by Lewis E. Wint and Son, was free for veterans. Mike Clift, commander of ROTC in Flint gave visitors a history of Veterans Day.

Many students took the time to ask veterans and their family members ques-tions about war or what it was like during at home during wartime.

Sylvia Kojima explained to students what it was like in World War II when things like food was rationed and cars were hard to buy.

A Clarkston veteran who served in the Korean War said young people need to know the history of our country and the stories of soldiers and military people who have served their country.

Students, veterans and visitors gathered outside the Legion near the flag pole and watched a 21-gun salute and Taps performed by the Pontiac American Legion Post 377.

Gary Kolody performed an accordion rendition of patriotic songs including America the Beautiful, Maine Hymn and God Bless America.

"We need to be constantly reminded of out gift of freedom and those who gave all and to make sure future generations continue to know life in this great country of ours," said Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle, featured speaker.

"Those that are gone, and those of you here today created a clear pathway for us to continue on. We must never waiver from that path of freedom and democracy," said Kittle. "Today we stand to remember the most honorable amongst us and we must continue to carry the burden of their sacrifice, lest we lose sight of what true freedom is."