Monday, October 22, 2012

American History - Tom Clark

We have mentioned many American Heroes:  Active US Military ... Veterans ... Injured Veterans ... Police ... Fire ... EMS ... Dispatchers ... Off-Duty Officers ... and On-Call Firefighters.

This bit of American History is a first-class reminder of US soldiers who have paid the ultimate price.

It was 1985.  Tom Clark was a 31-year old history teacher at Lake Central High School in St John, Indiana.

Lake Central High School had five graduates who were killed in Vietnam.  One of Tom's students wanted to put up a memorial to remember the dead soldiers.

Tom agreed to support the idea, but he wanted it done right.  He asked his students to interview the families of the dead soldiers and get details on their lives.  That way the memorial could include the full stories of who they were.

Since then, for the past 27 years, Tom Clark has put this same project before his students.  At the beginning of the semester he gives his students many files containing information about dead soldiers from Indiana.  The students then piece together the stories of these casualties.

They uncover photos, letters, records, articles, artifacts and telegrams.  They visit and interview the remaining friends and family of the dead servicemen.  And finally they tell the story of each soldier.

These high school students have worked on stories about deceased soldiers from World War II, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • They have spoken with former fiancees who did not see their loved one come home
  • They have found evidence of great athletes whose potentially stunning careers did not materialize due to the war
  • They have turned up medals of war that were never issued, but have fixed that by getting them issued and personally delivering them to the family
  • And they have recently faced a family that is still reeling from the April 15th passing of a young serviceman - who was a 32-year old son, dedicated husband and father of a two-year old

Thanks to Tom Clark, these soldiers and their stories are being properly preserved.  And many students are realizing freedom isn't free.

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