Students, veterans honor members of Americas military
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:17 PM
ARLINGTON Local students joined area veterans in honoring the sacrifices of all the men and women of Americas armed forces, in time for the day of the year that this nation sets aside to remember its fallen and surviving military members alike.
Veterans Day is Nov. 11, but Nov. 9 was a busier day for commemorating veterans in Arlington, since four of the Veterans Day assemblies held by Arlington-area schools took place that day.
Post Middle School began the day with an 8 a.m. assembly that addressed both consequences and gratitude. Post social studies teacher Mike Preisinger offered a lesson based on the life of his father, World War II veteran Anton Preisinger.
Students are often taught about cause and effect in their social studies classes, Mike Preisinger said. An example of this happened one day in early 1942, a month or so after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when my dad was waiting for a bus to go to work in downtown Seattle. He was 21 years old. After the bus failed to show up, he noticed an Army recruiting station across the street and decided on the spot to sign up. Three-and-a-half years later, Anton Preisinger finally returned home from the war to Seattle and his woodworking job. Cause and effect.
Mike Preisinger went on to identify his fathers training of other soldiers on M2 155-millimeter field guns, without any available ear protection as the cause of the constant buzzing that Anton Preisinger still hears today. Mike pointed to his own birth as an effect of Anton writing letters to the younger sister of one of his fellow soldiers while stationed in Hawaii, since the pen-pals relationship turned into a romance.
My folks will celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary in December, Mike Preisinger said. Cause and effect.
Jim Truitt, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, followed
Preisinger by introducing students to the Gratitude Campaign.
There are 1.6 million Americans currently serving in our military, Truitt said. You might see them in uniform, in places like airports, and want to thank them, but not know how. It can be awkward, to say or to hear. So, the Gratitude Campaign came up with a sign to show soldiers how much we appreciate them, without anyone being embarrassed.
Truitt explained that the Gratitude Campaign has taken the sign language gesture for Thank you from the bottom of my heart, which starts with the right hand over the heart, then lowers and extends the hand, as a way of expressing gratitude, not only to military members, but also to their family members.
Pioneer Elementarys assembly at 1:10 p.m. invited William Morse, post commander of Arlington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1561, to share his experiences and answer students questions.
Several students were eager to inform Morse that their parents are also serving in the military, and Morse encouraged the children to seek out veterans.
Veterans have a wealth of information to offer, said Morse, whose 23 years in the U.S. Navy included two years in Vietnam. A lot of them will be delighted to talk with you about what theyve done and seen, while others might not, if theyre had bad experiences. The key is to learn from them, because freedom isnt free. Going into the service is a great thing, but its no picnic, and I hope that none of you ever have to go to war.
Visitors to the 2 p.m. Kent Prairie Elementary assembly witnessed the posting of the colors by the Arlington High School Air Force Junior ROTC and a flag-folding ceremony conducted by Arlington Boys Scouts of America Troop 29.
Like the students at Pioneer and Eagle Creek Elementary, the Kent Prairie students paid further tribute to Americas military by performing the songs of each branch of service, including the Air Forces Off We Go, the Armys Caisson Song, the Coast Guards Semper Paratus, the Marines Marine Hymn, and the Navys Anchors Aweigh.
Eagle Creek Elementary concluded the Veterans Day assemblies for Nov. 9 with guest speaker WWII Navy veteran Harry Yost.
As hed done at the Arlington Library Nov. 1, Yost recalled his service in the Pacific Rim, complete with cramped ships bunks, a torpedo across the ships bow after it left New Caledonia, and a tour of duty in Espirito Santos that lasted even after he was officially relieved four times.
How many of you have ever really been scared? Yost asked. When youre really scared, you run like mad for your foxhole, which you wish was a lot deeper, and you lay there and pray. After the action stopped, we got up and looked for our buddies. When youre that scared, you dont know what else to do. Thats what war is, and I hope none of you ever go through it.
Yost closed his remarks by inviting the children to visit him at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum, where they could learn more about history.
After the 11 a.m. Veterans Day parade in downtown Arlington
Nov. 11, Arlington American Legion Post 76 invited veterans and other community members to take part in their traditional dinner, as veterans who had been members of the Legion for more than 45 years were honored with certificates, and those who were prisoners of war or missing in action were remembered in the traditional fashion, with a small dinner table whose single seat was left unoccupied.