Combat vets share their stories with students

Reporter’s Notebook

Clovis High School teachers invited 11 local veterans ranging from World War II to the current war in Iraq to the school on Thursday to share their combat experiences.
“One of the questions the students asked was has (Korean War veteran Bob Simmons) had any nightmares, and he said his only nightmares are of his school-teaching days,” said high school teacher Kathy Smith. “We all laughed, of course.”
While some parts of the presentation were humorous, Smith said students understood the seriousness of war.
“One gentleman had been a medic in Korea and he literally cried much of the afternoon,” Smith said. “We do a unit each year about war. It talks about Auschwitz, it talks about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and it also touches on the Vietnam War.”
Smith said the veterans made four presentations during the day to a total of 300 students from classes led by five teachers, including the ROTC instructor, and teachers said their students enjoyed the presentations.
“Many of them are not used to actually having a relationship with older people simply because some of them are not close to their grandparents and don’t have elderly people in their lives,” Smith said. “We think it’s a great opportunity for both of them to interact.”

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Darrell Todd Maurina. Suggested items may be mailed to editor David Stevens at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is:
david_stevens@link.freedom.com