Veterans Day 2002 - 20th Anniversary
On March 26th 1982 the ground was broken for the building of a long overdue
memorial to the 58,000 men and woman who were killed or remain missing
in action in Vietnam. On November 13th 1982 the Wall was dedicated and
on this 20th anniversary, Veterans day 2002, some of our very own took
part in the Anniversary tradition of reading off the 58,000 names inscribed
on the black granite.
Vietnam War traveling memorial visits Mount Clemens
- June 2002
U.S. Army Vietnam War veterans Dale Kettlewell, Greg Decock and Pat Kelly discuss their experiences while viewing a traveling exhibit of the Vietnam War Memorial in Mount Clemens this weekend.
Woody Horne of Chesterfield Township couldn't get over the enormity of
the wall, even at half scale.
Gail by Panel with Marty's Name
Coventry, CT - 05/09/2002
From Left to Right:
Bruce Crandall, Bob Kilpatrick, Dave Fogg, Gail St. Clair
Students Get Real Lesson In History - By Carmel M. Owens - Hartford Current
November 10, 2000
COVENTRY - Gail Given St. Clair was 16 when her brother died in the Vietnam War. Since then, she said, she's tried to bury the pain of losing her best friend. Now she's letting herself feel it and she's slowly healing.
In July, St. Clair began e-mailing Bob Kilpatrick, an East Hampton resident who flew helicopters in Vietnam with the same company as Martin Given, who was from Northfield, Mass. Through Kilpatrick she was able to put personalities to the names that were so familiar from Martin's letters. She was also able to get a first-hand account of what life would have been like for the gangly 20-year-old with the wide grin during the days before the helicopter he was flying was shot down.
On Thursday, St. Clair, of Coventry, and Kilpatrick met in person during a celebration of Coventry's 20th Century Patriots at Nathan Hale Middle School. The ceremony, which included a speech by Lt. Gov. Jodi Rell, honored local veterans with a quilt and a book of their personal biographies, created by students in the challenge and enrichment program. Kilpatrick gave a speech of his experiences in Vietnam.
"This is closure for me,'' St. Clair said Thursday, as tears welled up in her eyes. "I haven't dealt with it.''
Judging by the amount of sniffles throughout the ceremony, the work put into honoring Coventry's 20th Century Patriots by staff and students meant a lot to the veterans and their families.
"This is the greatest thing that happened in Coventry, especially to get the kids involved the way they did,'' said Gale Hoyt, who served as a combat engineer during the Vietnam War.
The program started about a year ago when challenge and enrichment teacher Tom Dzicek wanted his students to do personal interviews with Coventry veterans of war. He expected to get about five or 10 veterans to participate, but soon 48 biographies were being put together, including those of Roger Heinz and Michael Machie, who died in Vietnam. The interviews were so personal and intense, Dzicek said, that he and the students decided to expand the program by making a quilt with a panel for each of the interviewed veterans. Thursday's program was the first time many of the veterans got to see the quilt. Each got a copy of the book of biographies and a video of the whole interviewing and quilting process.
"As some of these really moving stories unfolded, the kids were supposed to be taking notes but they were just listening with their mouths open,'' Dzicek said.
Many of the veterans donated their uniform patches for their quilt panel. Each could suggest what important information they'd like to include. The 8-by-6-foot framed quilt will hang in the hallway of the new auditorium which connects the middle school to the high school.
"These kids have done a terrific job and their interviews were very good,'' said Fred Rose, who served as an electrician's mate in World War II and the Korean War. "They seemed really interested in what they were doing.''
High school freshman Sam Wells was involved with the interviews and the quilting as an eighth-grader. Witnessing the raw emotion that these veterans were displaying made an impact on him, he said. He sees veterans differently now. "Veterans Day is no longer a time off from school,'' Sam said. "It has a meaning for us.''