Veterans tell students they’d serve again
Lionville Middle School hosted its 7th annual Veterans Day assembly
UWCHLAN >> Several veterans on Veterans Day told Downingtown students on Friday that they would do their service again “in a minute.”
The Patriot’s club students welcomed and introduced the veterans present at the Lionville Middle School seventh annual Veterans Day assembly. Lionville students, of the Downingtown Area School District, were able to ask veterans about their service.
When asked if they would serve their country again, U.S. Marine veteran Doug Forsythe simply said “in a minute.” Another veteran who served in the Vietnam War as a combat medic after he enlisted. He said he “wouldn’t do anything different.”
Garrett Gulish did not think he would join the military, until he heard a recruiter at his high school talk about flight planes. It became his path when he thought it would be “cool.” Gulish, who served in the Air Force from 1996 to 2006, was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He added that during his service, he had been to six continents.
When asked by a student how old the veterans were when they joined the military, several veterans joked that they were around the age of the Lionville students who are in seventh and eighth grade. Veteran Jim Fox held up a photograph of himself of when he first joined the military as a teenager.
Veteran Shawn Carter said that most of the veterans at the assembly had joined at 18 or 19. After he graduated from high school, Carter decided to join the Army before he attended college. He served for 23 years. He then pursued his higher education and graduated from West Chester University. He said he had to retire in 2009 as a staff sergeant after he was injured twice in a week. He received two purple hearts and a bronze star, among several other honors.
Carter served in the Gulf War and in Iraq. He met former President George Bush when he was treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also met President Barrack Obama and carries the challenge coin he received from him.
Carter said that he talks to other veterans who he shares a bond with and they can relate to each other. A Navy veteran who served for 26 years said that it helps service members to have support from their families while they serve. He came from a military family.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with your family and whether your family deals with you being in the military. Your wife has
to be able to at least stand it, they might not like it. If they don’t, it can be very hard for you to stay in the service.”
Several of the veterans said that when they thought they would be drafted for the Vietnam War, they signed up for the military. Some said because they were not married and did not enroll in college, that they knew they could be drafted and signed up. Among them, one noted that every male in his in senior class had been drafted.
When a student asked what basic training, or boot camp, is like, most of the veterans laughed because it would be difficult to explain in a few minutes. Several veterans gave thanks to their drill sergeants for preparing them.
Army ranger veteran George Armentrout said in boot camp, the soldiers learned that “you did what you were told, when you were told, how you were told and you did it to the best of your ability.”
He said they trained to work together because they depended on each other. He served from 1959 to 1983. He said he still talks to the men in his unit and that they understand because they served in the Vietnam War together.
One veteran was stationed in South Korea because she could speak Korean. Other veterans talked about how it was difficult to communicate in areas where they did not speak the language. One veteran said he learned how to say a few words in Japanese, such as water. He also learned how to say “good morning to you all.”
Lionville Principal Jonathan Ross told the students that it is the least that they can do on Veterans Day to honor the veterans by thanking the brave men and women for their service.
Ross noted a friendly rival between military branches. He said he grew up seeing the Republican and Democrat party have a similar rivalry. He referred to the presidential election on Tuesday when Republican Donald Trump won the presidential-elect over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“The two sides always came together to do what’s best for our country,” Ross said. “I think that’s what our military does. I can only hope that our political leaders will follow their example and come together and do what’s best for our country in the coming days.”
Lionville Middle School students cheer on Friday for the veterans who attended the school’s seventh annual Veterans Day assembly held on Veterans Day. Above, Navy veteran Bob Norwood, who served from 1952 to 1963, talks to Lionville students.
Lionville Middle School students cheer for the veterans who attended the school’s seventh annual Veterans Day assembly held on Friday. Army Ranger veteran George Armentrout, right, said that the soldiers learned in basic training to perform their tasks to the best of their ability.
Lionville Middle School students cheer for the veterans who attended the school’s seventh annual Veterans Day assembly.