SOUTH SALT LAKE — Students at a South Salt Lake school got a firsthand lesson on the meaning of military sacrifice as they honored a group of fallen veterans who decades earlier had roamed the same halls and sat in the same classrooms as they do today.

For most junior high-age students, the Vietnam War is something they may have read about in history books or discussed in civics class. But in commemoration of Veterans Day this month, students and staff at Granite Park Junior High Schoo Thursday honored seven former students who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.

To help immerse students in the overall experience, Granite Park administrators showed recently discovered 8mm film footage depicting school life in the 1960s and 1970s.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Students perform during the second annual Veterans Day celebration at Granite Park Junior High School in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

For some, like eighth-grade student Fenway Furbish, 13, seeing the footage and learning about the lives of the alumni who served in the war helped to connect her to the grandfather she never got to know who served in Vietnam.

Among the stories relayed by her family was how her grandfather loved good food, but seldom had much time to eat while on military duty, so he adapted to his surroundings.

“I learned that he really liked to eat fast and that he ate snake soup,” Furbish said with a smile. “They told me he was a really nice person and I really wish I’d gotten to meet him.”

She said having programs that honor veterans give students the chance to gain greater understanding about the sacrifices made by people who gave their lives to serve the country.

“I feel like it’s our job to (remember) them because if we don’t, then who will,” she said.

Surviving family members of veterans were in attendance as the school unveiled a new Vietnam War memorial to accompany a World War II plaque that was installed last year. They were given binders with information about their lost soldier’s time at Granite Park, as well as glass keepsake sculptures donated by O.C. Tanner.

Jeannette Colbert’s brother-in-law, Pfc. George Colbert, was just 20 years old when he was killed in Vietnam in 1967. She said providing today’s students with the background on students who died on the battlefield offers important civics lessons that often are overlooked.

“Teaching kids what it means to serve your country, the sacrifices that have been made and what it means to their actual lives,” Colbert said. “(George) gave his life and it should be a civics lesson that (his) sacrifice should mean something.”

She said the students should learn the importance of what it means to live in a democracy that provides rights so they can have the opportunity to live in freedom.

“They should learn about their civic duties, the duty to vote, the duty to be active in your community,” she said. “(You) should know about politics, know about your government and what it …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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Utah junior high students remember Vietnam veteran alumni

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