Vet­er­ans tell stu­dents they’d serve again

Lionville Mid­dle School hosted its 7th an­nual Vet­er­ans Day assem­bly

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Ginger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

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.

PHO­TOS BY GINGER RAE DUN­BAR — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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.

GINGER RAE DUN­BAR — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Lionville Mid­dle School stu­dents cheer for the vet­er­ans who at­tended the school’s sev­enth an­nual Vet­er­ans Day assem­bly.

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