POWELL, OH (WCMH) — On Thursday students formed a human flag as part of a “Living History” at Olentangy’s Hyatts Middle School.
That lesson continued on Friday as 125 military veterans shared their life-lessons with the country’s next generation responsible for protecting America.
It’s not always easy for military veterans to open up about their experiences, but several said this type of open format at Hyatts middle was eye-opening.
The morning started in the gym as both an introduction and thank you to the veterans.
The ROTC color guard started the middle school assembly off as the American flag was brought in. Members of the guard also folded the flag as a veteran explained what each fold symbolized.
Talking about his message of love for country and the men he served with, caused even the most experienced among those veterans to choke up.
“I think they ought to realize the country we live in is very important… and ah… I don’t know, I get sad thinking about that. We live in a great place a great county, and a lot of men died for this, they really did,” said 1st Sgt. Dallas Menges, who is a retired Special Forces soldier who served in both Korea and Vietnam.
The students say they really appreciate about learning history from someone who has been there.
“First of all I think they are brave because it is not easy to talk about something, because it is harder to talk about something than do something,” 8th grader Sai Darbha said.
Students said this is not history from a book.
“I think it makes a difference from your understanding of what it is. I think when they tell a story from their heart, it just makes a big difference from learning from the heart,” said Courtney Couch, an 8th grader at Hyatts.
Retired 1st Sgt. Menges said he could not be prouder of his grandson Caleb Menges. Not only is Caleb a graduate of Hyatts Middle School, he is in his second year in the Ohio National Guard, expected to deploy.
“It has been a good opportunity to honor him and my mother teaches here and told me about this program matching students with veterans,” Private Menges said. I am very proud of what he did and I get to carry it on and do the great things he did,” he said.
The veterans spread out throughout classes speaking about their military experiences and fielding curious and thoughtful questions from students.
All of November was Military Awareness Month at Hyatts.