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From greatest generation to latest generation

L-EHS salutes service veterans

Posted: November 11, 2011 4:07 p.m.
Updated: November 14, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Keri Todd Boyce/WWC

Lugoff-Elgin High School JROTC cadets display a large American flag during the Veterans Day ceremony at the school Friday.

For the first time in recent memory, American Legion Post 195 was not able to participate in the annual Veterans Day Parade in Columbia with the Lugoff-Elgin High School JROTC following the ceremony held at the school.

Post 195 was instead attending the funeral of one of their own. Jerald R Harrington, of Lugoff and a U.S. Navy Submariner, died in an automobile accident Nov. 7.  

Bill Heil of  Post 195 said he and fellow members, after the Veterans Day ceremony, were going to pay their respects to Harrington at the funeral service with full military honors.

“This will be the first time the American Legion Post 195 hasn’t been in the Veterans Day Parade with us,” Senior Army Instructor Maj. Gerald Washabau said.

Washabau asked everyone in attendance to keep Harrington and his family in their prayers.

To keep with tradition, Washabau recited the poem “Ragged Old Flag” in honor of the late Sgt. 1st Class Wally Miles.

“For the first 10 years that we had this ceremony, Wally Miles was here,” Washabau told the crowd. “He was a three-time Purple Heart, and he always came out here to recite this poem no matter what his health.”

Washabau said Miles had lost a friend from the service and he made a point to recite “Ragged Old Flag” in his friend’s honor.

Miles last recited the poem at L-EHS in 2006. He was battling cancer. But even through chemotherapy, he found the strength to show up at the annual ceremony and recite “Ragged Old Flag” to remember his friend.

“Now it’s my turn to recite the poem for him,” Washabau said.

During the ceremony, students reflected on the price of being an Army wife, the sacrifice it takes to be a part of the U.S. military and the meaning of Taps.

“A mother always knows, a wife always knows, before her doorbell rings, before they walk up the driveway, when her husband had been wounded in battle,” said JROTC Cadet Staff Sgt. Emily MacKenzie said before she recited a heartbreaking tale of a wife learning her husband had been lost in battle.

JROTC Cadet Capt. Crystal Phillips recited “America, Why I Love Her.”

JROTC Cadet Maj. Lydia Knox shared a speech on “The Right stuff” and what it takes to be a soldier and a veteran.

“George Washington  once said ‘The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation,’” said Knox. “We must ask ourselves as a nation, are we serving our veterans half as well as they have served us?”

It’s important to honor all United States veterans, Knox said, “from the greatest generation to the latest generation.”

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