Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

American Veterans - thank you for all that you have given.

Our sixth grade band started the day by playing our national anthem and then staff, students and parents had an opportunity to meet three veterans. Mike Murphy is the grandfather of one of our students, a Minnesota National Guard veteran and Mike helped make the visit possible. Mike introduced students to Louie and Gary, both veterans with a unique story. Gary and Louie participated in a re-creation of a military vehicle convoy that originally took place in 1919.

Nearly 90 years ago on July 7, 1919, the country's first Army transcontinental convoy of 81 brand new military vehicles departed from mile marker zero near the White House and headed cross-country via the Lincoln Highway to San Francisco, Calif.

The original convoy included 46 trucks, five ambulances, 11 military staff cars, nine motorcycles, a Maxwell caterpillar tractor, four kitchen trailers, a pontoon trailer, a mobile searchlight and a recovery vehicle. The punishing quest took the 295 young Soldiers through middle America down roads that ranged from concrete to tracks across quicksand and mud and over bridges that collapsed underneath the weight of the vehicles.

Two months later, on Sept. 6, 1919, and at 6 mph, the convoy crept into San Francisco, battered and bruised, but whole. Its mission was accomplished in showing the public the importance of a mechanized military and offering a brutal demonstration of the need for good roads. An unwritten objective was to say thanks to Americans for their support during World War I.

This summer, Louie and Gary recreated this trip, using a variety of military vehicles including their restored 1941 and 1943 World War II jeeps. Approximately 40 other participants made the entire trip, but they were joined by hundreds of others and they were hosted by VFW's and Legions across the county and were received warmly everywhere they went.

All three gentlemen had great stories to share with students and in turn, the students had terrific questions to ask. Having the vehicles in the gym helped build curiosity too. We concluded the visits with group photos for each class. Our guests were very impressed with the behavior of the students as well as the questions they posed.

Here is a link to their group's website:

1 comment:

jess bongaarts said...

Ally came home just bursting with news about the Veteran's Day presentation -- thank you for bringing such an important event to the school!