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Vets Share Stories with Har-ber History Classes

A student led program is bringing military history to life, through the stories of veterans from each branch of the military.
Springdale, AR - A student led program is bringing military history to life, through the stories of veterans from each branch of the military.

History classes from Har-ber High School spent Veterans Day learning about the sacrifices made by members of our armed forces through firsthand accounts.

"For a long time, I didn't tell anybody I went to Vietnam and didn't tell anybody I was in the military," says Sergeant John Flaherty of the US Marine Corps. "It was ugly at times. There was no way that I was going to go out to eat with my wife and wear a uniform, because I didn't want to put up with the hassle of what you had to put up with."

Flaherty spent 13 months in the jungles of Vietnam.

"We came back, we wanted a heroes welcome like everybody else got, but basically it was a very unpopular war, and it seemed like it was our fault," he says. "It was just best to keep it inside, and stay quiet and try to forget it."

Flaherty says that opinion seemed to change overnight, and he believes events like Har-ber's Hour with a Hero are responsible.

"Out of the blue people started saying, 'Thank you for your service,'" he says. "I'm thinking, this has got to be coming from somewhere. Well, it is. It's coming from our schools and it's coming from programs like this."

Students in the EAST, or Environmental and Spatial Technologies, Program have been interviewing veterans for a project to record history, and on Monday they brought the vets in to share those stories with the entire school.

"When they come into our classroom and they sit down and they tell our story it's phenomenal," says East facilitator Debbie Lamb. "It adds on to the history that has been taught in our other core classes. The students get a realistic view of what is going on or what they're studying."

Flaherty is proud to play a part.

"This is kind of giving back, because for 35 years no one ever said, 'Thank you,'" he says. "Now all of a sudden I get it all the time."
The EAST students also went to the American Legion Post 100 once a month to eat breakfast with local veterans, allowing them to develop one on one relationships.
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