Students and staff at Wheeling Park High School honored the countless number of veterans who have fought and are still fighting to secure our freedoms. They even had some special guests on tap for their annual Veterans Day assembly.
The ceremony started off with a video honoring all men and women serving in our armed forces, but the highlight of the event was the solute to the prisoners of war and those missing in action. Represented with a small table set for one, with the various items on the surface symbolizing different aspects of sacrifice displayed by these American heroes.
“That’s what this is about,” said James Hall, 709 Military Order of the Purple Hearts commander. “Giving the honor to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and couldn’t come home to their families.”
One veteran in attendance sacrificed his leg after stepping on a landmine in Vietnam trying to get to another soldier. He wears an artifact everyday in honor of those P.O.W.s and those M.I.A.
“When I was trying to get to somebody else, it blew my foot off and it blew his foot off,” said John Pasquale, 709 Military Order of the Purple Hearts member. “He was a little worse than I was, from what they told me.”
Another veteran said early one morning, commanding officers came into his bunks and told him he was being deployed.
“During that time they sent us down to Vietnam,” said Dick Lemery, a Purple Hearts member. “They just told us at 3 o’clock in the morning to get on the airplane and we flew down.”
School officials said these ceremonies are all in effort to make Wheeling Park students the most respectable and productive members of society they can be.