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L-EHS, Post 195 honor veterans

Posted: November 11, 2010 3:43 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2010 5:00 a.m.
Keri Boyce/C-I

The late Sgt. 1st Class Wally Miles is still making an impression on the hearts and minds of the students at Lugoff-Elgin High School.

During a Veterans Day ceremony Thursday morning, Senior Army Instructor Maj. Gerald Washabau recited the poem “Ragged Old Flag” in Miles’ honor.

“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 meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, why a moment of silence is important and the meaning of Taps.

“A moment of silence is usually a tribute to surviving veterans, but at this time I would like to give tribute to those veterans who never got to say goodbye to their families,” L-EHS student Savannah Goad said.

L-EHS student and Battalion Commander Tyler Horton said his great-grandfather died while fighting in World War II.

“It means a lot to me that he died to make the country a safer place for me and my family,” Horton said. “I never knew him, but I know what he did was important.”

Horton also gave a rendition of Taps, explaining that the most recognizable military melody has a controversial history. Horton explained that Gen. Daniel Butterfield decided during the Civil War that he was not satisfied with the bugle call to extinguish the lights at the end of the day. As the story has it, he gave the bugler a new tune and it soon spread to surrounding units. After the war, Taps became the official bugle call.

“Taps strikes a cord with all military individuals,” Horton said. “It is guaranteed that all who die fighting for our freedom will be given the honor of having Taps played for them.”

In closing, L-EHS Principal Tommy Gladden thanked all those in attendance for their support.

“I would like to extend a special thanks to the veterans who have supported our school and our country. We appreciate everything you’ve done for us.”

Bill Heil of American Legion Post 195 said he was honored to be a part of the annual ceremony.

“This is the fifth year the legion has participated and it’s a great tradition,” he said. “It is truly a privilege to be here.”

Special guests of the ceremony included Post 195 members, former Kershaw County Council Chairman Steve Kelly, Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan, Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskill and Sheriff-elect Jim Matthews.

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