On Memorial Day, we remember and honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military.
Ahead of the holiday on Monday, more than 400 Bristol high schoolers learned more about the different wars from veterans who were there and lived through it.
On Thursday morning, the teens walked up and down Memorial Boulevard to see the different war monuments.
“What we do is educate the high school kids when they come down as to what happened in that particular war because these veterans have been there and done that,” said Brother Leonard Webster, a veteran who served in the Vietnam and Gulf wars.
Lea McCabe, the social studies department chair at Bristol Central High School, said this is an annual event held in conjunction with the city’s Veterans Council.
It’s planned every year around Memorial Day for sophomores taking U.S. history.
“It’s unlike anything else in the state really, all the different monuments, all the different memorials, all the different men and woman who have served,” McCabe said.
High schoolers got to hear personal stories from the veterans on Thursday, like a Korean War veteran who told the students he laid in a hole for three days at the age of 22.
Or stories from Beverly W. Strong, who is thought to be the only living widow of a World War I veteran.
“When I married my husband, I was 35 and he was 79,” Strong said. “We never knew this would come into a romance and it came into a romance, and we were quite the talk in Bristol.”
She also lost her brother in World War II when she was just 6 years old.
“I was playing with my girlfriend next door and I went home and everybody was crying. And I said, what’s the matter? Why is everyone crying? And they said Freddy died. I saw my mother in the rocking chair with the telegram in her hand, crying her heart out. It stayed in my head and it still does as though it was yesterday,” Strong said.
As we approach Memorial Day, McCabe said visiting the memorials is just one way to remember those who died protecting this country and its people.
“If you live in Bristol, or you live anywhere near here, and you have a minute to honor Memorial Day, come down to the Memorial Boulevard and see these amazing monuments at our city has worked hard to maintain and provide. It’s a great opportunity,” McCabe said.
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