Thursday, Nov. 11


Veterans share military experiences with West Lincoln-Broadwell students Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 11, 2004]  West Lincoln junior high students from Ms. Kutz's social studies class received real-life lessons on the military this past Monday. The students lined the halls saying "Thank you," while welcoming in the local veterans who came to share their experiences. AMVETS Post 71 members Arnie Haak, Bill Bryson, Wayne Schrader and Les Van Bibber gave the presentation in honor of Veterans Day.

The men shared their military experiences with the students in an effort to help students understand the role of our military men and women.

Van Bibber was the key speaker. He set two goals for the students:

  1. Make a commitment.
  2. Work at preparedness.

He then set out and drew correlations between the military and the students' lives, emphasizing the importance of preparedness.

The military simply doesn't accept excuses from soldiers or officers not doing their job or not being on time. Van Bibber illustrated how students can find more success and contentment in life if they commit themselves to preparedness also.

The televised military news of the day on Monday backed up his statement. All the commanders who were interviewed in Iraq stated in their comments that they were "prepared" for their entry to Falluja.

Students are much more successful if they disciplined in their daily life. This is done in small steps, such as getting enough sleep, being on time for the bus and having homework done. It can be done when you commit yourself to completing a challenging class, Van Bibber said.

He had a course in which the instructor told them the first day to look around at their classmates. Fifty percent of you will be here when this course is done; you decide today which you will be, they were told. Van Bibber said he looked around, but he already knew he was going to be there to finish; he was committed.

Right now that translates into "Do your homework," he said. Later in life this translates to "Learn your job."

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Through the multidisciplinary process, military personnel learn confidence. It is found in small things, such as impeccable tidiness and readiness to respond to instructions of left or right pivots. It is found in experiencing team effort, belief in self and what lies ahead. It is in the military attitude of problem-solving, such as the use of counting the hours of the day as 2400 hours in order to avoid confusion of a.m. or p.m. In the military, 11 a.m. is 1100 hours, 11 p.m. is 2300 hours.

He encouraged students to not be part of a problem. Be part of the solution. Take care of yourself. If you are sick, stay home, but as soon as you are able get back in school. Do your homework. If you have trouble doing the work, find other students to network with or form a study group. Do what you need to do to get it done.

Make the choice today to change your life and it will follow you. If you don't, your life will be limited. He believes that success in life is your choice and leads to contentment and a better more rewarding life.

He concluded, "Don't cheat yourself. Be ready."

The three other speakers offered different views of their military experiences. Wayne Schrader spoke to the students on the meaning of the flag and honoring it.

Haak and Bryson, who were involved in military combat, shared some of their war experiences.

The students showed interest and respect for what the veterans had to say, being attentive throughout the talks, and they had good questions afterward. They were particularly intrigued by the handy-dandy military can opener that Van Bibber showed them.

The AMVETS members hope to speak at other schools in the future.

[Jan Youngquist]

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