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Honoring Brave lives lost
Posted on 03/30/2018
Commemorative wreath

In honor of National Vietnam War Veteran’s Day, Boone High School commemorated the 50th anniversary and the sacrifice of the 33 men listed on the school’s war memorial.

The program focused on the U.S. veterans who served on active duty between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, regardless of duty station(s). They recognized 18 Army, 10 Marines, 1 Navy, 1 Air Force and 3 men whose branches are not known.


Committee organizers spent eight months researching the names on the Boone memorial to invite family members to the ceremony. One of the main organizers was Dr. Herschel Hughes Jr., Class of 62, USN (Ret.), who also served as the event’s Master of Ceremony.


Dr. Hughes conducted the roll call of the honorees that included their name, Boone graduation year, age, branch, rank, medals, badges, and date of casualty. He included as much personal information as his research allowed. Each fallen soldier had the ship’s bell rung in his honor.


Colonel Bruce Johnson, USAF (Ret.), Chaplain Marvin Luckie, US Army (Ret.), Captain Chuck Tebrich, USMC (Ret.), and Lieutenant Commander Robert Strange, USN (Ret.) and current Boone teacher, presented seven soldiers’ family members with a special National Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program Certificates of Honor and an official pin. Sauls brothers

“This is not just a ‘local’ event that we planned for Boone Veterans.  As everyone knows, our Vietnam Veterans weren't given the homecoming they deserved when the war ended and this is a way for us to show respect nationally, and retroactively, for their service,” said Dr. Hughes. “I feel this is important because this day of observance is not just about Boone, it's about the losses in our own community.”


One of the more emotional moments occurred when Dr. Hughes asked all those who served in the designated time frame to come forward to receive their Vietnam War Veteran pin. More than 60 male and female veterans rose and walked forward to be recognized.


“The whole ceremony was a lump in the throat. The bagpipes, the ringing of the ship's bell, the personal messages about the soldiers...and I think it gave comfort to the families who lost soldiers in a controversial war,” said Margaret McMillen, class of 1966 and Boone principal 2006-2015.


Due to construction on campus limiting the viewing area at the actual memorial site, Capt. Tebrich and an NJROTC cadet conducted an official wreath laying ceremony on stage in front of a picture of the memorial. This allowed the entire audience to see the ritual. A cadet played Taps, the 24 notes to signify the end of the ceremony.


After the official ceremony, a cadet walked the wreath to the Memorial Garden where Reginald Lyle, piper, played a musical interlude for attendees reflective enjoyment.


A reception immediately followed in the Hugh E. Hattabaugh Media Center.

Boone High School, the Boone Foundation, local community organizations, including Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, a national Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Partner, and many appreciative alumni helped make the event possible.