Students head to D.C. to honor veterans

HANOVER, Ohio (WKBN) – Classroom lessons are designed to be life lessons. And this week, four students from United Local are preparing for their part in a patriotic ceremony at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, Tyler Humphrey, Cade Wood, Katelyn Maze and Brian Lippiatt will be side-by-side with members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“It is a great honor to be able to do this for people and for families that have lost their loved ones,” said Humphrey.

The privilege to partake in the solemn ceremony is the result of a class assignment earlier in the school year for Veterans Day. Students were asked to write a letter that would end up in the hands of a veteran. The class and their teacher, Mrs. VanBuren, thought highly of what the group of four put on paper.

Excerpts from the student’s letters

Lippiatt – Fight or Flight, stand your ground or run. You have stood your ground and fought for the freedoms that I am able to have.

Humphrey – Your service was a huge commitment. You left everything you had at home and missed out on many things that you can never get back.

Maze – The sacrifices you gave to us can never be repaid.

Wood – The characteristics of a hero are bravery, courage, the strive and determination to keep this country a safe and happy place to live. To me, you are a hero.

VanBuren said the students knew the importance of what they were doing even though they haven’t walked in the shoes of a soldier.

“I think it is because it is real. It is not a made up school assignment,” said VanBuren. “It is a real life thing and they know real veterans are going to receive these letters.”

As for the visit to Arlington National Cemetery, it’s something Lippiatt has long wanted to do. He says the wreath laying is something he’ll never forget, similar to the ceremony he saw at his uncle’s funeral a few years ago.

“When he passed away, they did the 21-gun salute and my aunt was also awarded a flag for his honor,” said Lippiatt.

The students say when they’re at Arlington with their hands on the wreath, they will be representing their school, their community, their country, and they owe it our nation’s bravest.

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