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CURRENT ISSUE:  November 19, 2007
VOL. 45, NO. 20   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
U.S. bishops address ‘failures in Iraq’
Islamic Studies Center dedicated at Graduate Theological Union
U.S. bishops issue statement to help
form consciences for political life

Veterans share their experiences,
are honored at St. Michael School
Robert Ransom, who served in the Air Force in Vietnam, show his grandson Ian Ransom and Keely Harvey a model of the plane he flew on missions to refuel bomber planes. The elder Ransom was visiting the fifth grade class at St. Michael School in Livermore.

History came alive at St. Michael’s School in Livermore, Nov. 9, when 20 veterans visited the fifth grade classroom to tell their stories of military service. As each of the 19 servicemen and one servicewoman recounted some of their experiences, a star of honor was placed on a large timeline in the front of the classroom to show in which U.S. conflict each had seen action.

The students had invited the veterans, who are family members or friends.

“We had five veterans of World War II as well as veterans of Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and one soldier who just returned from Iraq,” said Barbara Tittle, the fifth grade teacher. She patterned the pre-Veterans Day celebration on an observance promoted on the History Channel. Her husband and her brother, both veterans of the Vietnam War, were among the invited guests.

“Vietnam vets didn’t get the honor they deserved when they returned home and we don’t want to let that happen to our Iraqi veterans,” she said, adding that the event was so popular that she hopes to repeat it next year.

Using questions supplied by the History Channel, the students worked in pairs to interview the veterans, then obtained their autographs. Several of the veterans showed military memorabilia including a Purple Heart, medals, and the model of a refueling plane used in Vietnam. One student’s father, a Gulf War vet, arrived in his Marine Corps uniform.

The 90-minute event began with Dominican Sister Emmanuel Cardinale, principal, reading a letter of encouragement from President George Bush during an assembly of the entire student body. It concluded with the fifth graders and the vets singing the anthems of each branch of the armed forces. The students had learned the songs during third grade, Tittle said.

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