By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Duniway students honor veterans

Duniway Middle School students honored all who’ve served in the military at the school’s annual Veterans Day Assembly, held the first thing Monday morning.

Eighteen veterans attended the event, and more were featured in a slideshow of parents, grandparents and other relatives to Duniway students and staff members. The vets who were able to be there in person represented service in World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and more recent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This is the first time I can ever remember being honored,” said Gary Wallace, who was invited to the assembly by his grandson, Duniway student Bryce Wallace.

Wallace, who served in the Marines in Vietnam, said he was grateful to be recognized by the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, the Duniway band and choir and the McMinnville High School choir.

Indicating his fellow vets, he told the students, “Not one of the people up there did if for ourselves. We did it for you guys, and we’re proud of what we did.”

Students discussed the history of Veterans Day and the importance of giving veterans their due. Student Maria Martinez asked her peers to consider the meaning of sacrifice.

To people their age, Maria said, “sacrifice” may been giving up free time in order to do homework. But what veterans did was real sacrifice, she said — they risked their lives and gave up time with their families in order to fight for their country.

The countywide Veterans Honor Guard presented the colors. One of the members, Vietnam vet Richard McJunkin, told students it’s especially important to honor the WWII veterans.

“Adolf Hitler wanted to walk down Third Street. These soldiers prevented him from doing that,” McJunkin said.

He introduced the WWII vets in the group, Vic Banke, Bob Fulham and Bob Abrahamson.

Abrahamson, a former teacher, invited students and staff to say hello when they see him or another veteran on the street. “We’d be honored if you shake our hand,” he said.

Also among the honored vets were Connie Christensen, Juan Palacios, Chuck Knapp, Rex Smith,  MaryLou Kellar, Bud Abbott, Jim Churchwell, Dick Wyatt, Dick Olson, Stan de Stwolinski, Mark Schoenbein and others.

Schoenbein, a former Patton teacher, told the students, “The next time you see a vet, say thanks.”

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