Nov 17, 2013

Arcanum students get lesson from Korean War vet

ARCANUM – From kindergarten through twelfth grade, students in the Arcanum School District continue to learn about the impact veterans make in the community, state and country. The students gathered together on Veteran’s Day for a 45-minute program that featured music and a guest speaker. For the past 15 years Eric Weibel, a teacher in the district, has been in charge of the program. Approximately 30 veterans representing all branches of the armed forces were in attendance.

This year’s guest speaker was Jake McGlothlin, of Arcanum. McGlothlin was raised in the Gettysburg area and graduated from Gettysburg High School in 1951. A year later he was drafted to serve in the United States Army. It wasn’t long until he found himself in Korea during the Korean War. McGlothlin told students “I chose to go because it is a privilege to be part of a free country and an obligation, I felt, I had to fulfill.”

After special training in Japan, McGlothlin was placed in the 45th infantry division. “We served on the front line, combat, and I was fortunate to make it through without being wounded,” he said. He was later pulled back and took a job delivering food to personnel, but part of his job was delivering to the front line. Because of his job, McGlothlin and his service buddy, Lou Gessler, were the last two American soldiers to leave the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The war veteran earned two bronze stars during his time in service. “One was for Valor,” he said. “It was for doing what you have to do, but trying to save your own tail.” The other bronze star holds special meaning for McGlothlin, “The other was for Meritorious Service. It is for going beyond what is reasonable. It is going that extra mile.” He explained to students the medal for Valor is like a star you would get on a paper that you put a lot of extra effort into and the teacher would say, “good job.” The medal for Meritorious Service “means you did a lot of things you did not have to do and somebody did recognize it.”

He stopped short of encouraging students to enter the military, but McGlothlin said, “I believe it is a good place to learn discipline and responsibility.”

The Village Singers also participated in the event and sang a medley of Armed Forces songs. Each veteran stood up as his song was sung.

Students played a huge role in the program. Tiffany Stephan and her students presented a donation to the Wounded Warrior Program. The students held a fundraiser and were able to give over $460. Students from the middle school shared poems and letters they wrote in regards to Veteran’s Day.

The biggest reaction from the veterans came when the middle and high school choir presented a unique version of America the Beautiful. Immediately following the last note, the veterans sprang to their feet applauding.

The high school band closed out the program with God Bless the USA.

Students from every grade level at Arcanum took part in the Veteran’s Day program. These elementary aged students recited the Pledge of Allegiance. (Ryan Berry photo)

Tiffany Stephan’s students shared information on the Wounded Warrior Project and announced a donation from the class. (Ryan Berry photo)

Jake McGlothlin spoke to students about his experience during the Korean War. (Ryan Berry photo)


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