from the Star
Students hear Veterans Day speakers
The men in attendance at DeKalb High School Monday served in Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom, Vietnam, World War II and at Guantanamo Bay. Those veterans and others were honored Monday during a Veterans Day assembly at DeKalb High School.
Members of Auburn’s post of the American Legion opened the ceremony with the posting of colors, followed by the DeKalb High School choir singing the national anthem.
Among the many veterans were speakers Paul Yoder, a 1966 Auburn High School graduate, and U.. Army Staff Sgt. Dari West, a 1990 DeKalb High School graduate.
Yoder said while he was in college, the Vietnam War was raging and it was not a matter of serving, but “when and how.” After graduating, he attended officer training school in Rhode Island.
Yoder said in 1972 a peace agreement was signed, and in the following year prisoners of ware were sent home.
Even as tensions ceased, “We still didn’t know who to trust,” Yoder said.
What he enjoyed most about serving were the people and the ability to take pride in his work.
“My heroes are the ones who never came home,” Yoder said.
“Would I do it over again?” Yoder added, “Absolutely.”
West, a 22-year army veteran is a familiar face at DeKalb High School, where he has addressed several student assemblies.
In March 20-13, West completed a two-year tour of duty in Afghanistan. His words Monday encouraged students to consider the military to reach their goals, because of the discipline it taught him.
“If you’re thinking about the Army or the military in general, do it,” West said. “there’s no other way out there that will help discipline you and make values in your life.”
West also spoke out against bullying, telling the audience he was bullied as a student. He joined the Army as a senior in high school and credits his experiences with teaching him to stand up for himself and to have pride in himself.
“Stand up to bullies,” he said. “it’s not right.”
“These are my heroes, right here,” West said, pointing to the veterans who were seated at the ceremony. “They went before me.”
West said he continues serving in the Army because he cares about “each and every one” in the audience.
“I don’t know you, but I love you,” West said, “and that’s why I do what I do and will continue to do what I do.”