World War II Vets Bring Veteran’s Day To Life For District 163 Students

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Renewing friendships, celebrating an 86th birthday and sharing a moment of silence for a deceased veteran and all those who died before him were among the highlights of Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163’s Veteran’s Day Program. Seven of 10 World War II veterans who were interviewed by the District’s fourth/fifth grade honors class last May returned to reconnect with their interviewers for Veteran’s Day during a special program honoring them in Forest Trail Middle School’s Media Center.

Now fifth and sixth graders, the students visited with their interview subjects and caught up on news. The students and veterans had a moment of silence for all deceased veterans recently deceased World War II veteran John Malone, one of the veterans interviewed in May who had shared his experiences on a ship in the South Pacific.  The students then presented veteran Carl Dalke with a birthday cake and sang happy birthday to him in honor of his 86th birthday. Dalke had related to his interviewers his World War II experiences in Germany when he was a young man of 19.

After a continental breakfast, the students, veterans, teachers, administrators and Board of Education members watched a video of the interviews created by Karen Burns, the Forest Trail teacher who coordinated the World War II veterans’ project with gifted teacher Danielle Gladstone. The students presented each of the veterans with a copy of the video and a certificate of appreciation for their service during World War II.

“This is beautiful,” said veteran Mike Singer, 84-years-old, of the event. Singer told his interviewers Elizabeth Cook and Nautica Little that he was 14-years-old when he enlisted in the army. “I was tall and big,” he related.

“We thank you, veterans, for your service and we thank the young people for their enthusiasm on this project. There is nothing like a lesson that can be taught from life experiences,” said Board President Walter Mosby.

Ms. Burns plans to make the veterans’ project an annual event with veterans of different wars being the focus each year.