With Veterans Day approaching on Friday, students and staff of Adna High School assembled in the school’s gymnasium Tuesday morning to honor veterans and hear a speech from U.S. Army Special Forces Team Sergeant Jonathan Lu.
Lu has now been in the Army for 19 years and is still actively serving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The veterans in attendance included:
• Norm Chapman, Coast Guard, Chief Warrant Officer Four, served for 33 years
• Jim Marden, Navy, Petty Officer Second Class, served for six years
• Alan Stratton, Army, Corporal, served for three years
• Roger Towers, Army, First Sergeant, served for 20 years
• Fred Moon, Army, Corporal, served for two years
• Time Miller, Navy, Petty Officer Third Class, served for four years
• Rick Jones, Army, First Sergeant, served for 21 years
• Rickey Calhoun, Army, Staff Sergeant, served for 17 years
• Dan Watson, Navy, Petty Officer Second Class, served for four years
• Linda Lemco, Army, Sergeant, served for five years
• Gail Bayne, Navy, Petty Officer Second Class, served for 20 years
• Fred Tobey, Coast Guard, Petty Officer Second Class, served for six years
• Christina Rainey, Army, Specialist, served for five years
• Addison DeBoer, Navy, Petty Officer Second Class, served for two years
• Norman Ewan, Army, Private First Class, served for two years
• Seth Hodges, Army, rank not given, served for 14 years
• Marsia Ken Warner, whose father was a WWII Army veteran
Once all of the veterans had been introduced, Lu began his speech by sharing a story of his own time in high school before joining the Army.
“I ended up volunteering at a local homeless shelter, painting walls and organizing food donations. On one volunteer session, I walked through the sleeping area where there were about 40 beds, all in various stages of being made,” said Lu.
He explained that while working at the shelter he learned how to make “hospital corners” on the beds when making them, a skill he didn’t even know at the time was also taught in the Army. He was able to learn it there because he found out that over half of the shelter’s population were veterans.
“It wasn’t lost on me that military service extracts a critical cost on military service members and their families,” Lu said.
Shortly after in basic training, he learned the value of serving others after his drill sergeant got on his case for using hospital corners to fold the sheets on his own bed but not helping the recruits around him with their sheets. In Lu’s mind, anyone can serve in this way, even if they are not in the military.
He called on the students to keep that in mind whether or not they chose to serve themselves. Lu added that many veterans continue to serve even after military life ends by joining fire and police departments.
“On this Veterans Day we commemorate the service of 18.2 million American veterans who were called to military service. Many veterans continue to serve to date in health care, in the fire service, in law enforcement and other private sector industries,” said Lu. “They are your nurses, your dispatchers, your police officers. They are called to service because it is so deeply interwoven into the fabric of our country. So as Veterans Day approaches, I ask that you not only celebrate the service of veterans, but that you also recognize that Veterans Day is a call to service for each and every one of us in this room.”