Remembering Our Veterans
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2014 01:43 PM


Reprint of a correspondence to Frank Walters regarding his initial posting of this topic. 

I agree with you, Frank. How many of our classmates enlisted in the military before graduation? That is a rhetorical question of course but it needs to be researched in order to honor all of them. I see from our “found classmates” listing that almost 1/3 of us are veterans. There are the KIA's, MIA's, those that returned with obvious and observable injuries, and those that returned with the not so obvious emotional scars of PTSD. Some may have even been fortunate enough to have returned to civilian life without the scars of battle. It is my personal belief that every soldier that endures combat carries emotional scars for the rest of their life. I am a double veteran but I fall into the last category because I was never sent into combat. I was a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for two years and I was drafted into the Army for Viet Nam. My ability to answer silly academic test questions got me assigned to Intelligence Command HQ in a personnel office located in Fort Holobird, Maryland. Veterans and their sacrifices have always been a primary concern for me.

It would seem appropriate to inquire with the Pinellas County School System to see if they can generate a list of NEHI students dropping out of school in the years 1963-1965, which would cover juniors and seniors or students sixteen through 18 years of age. If such a list could be obtained it could then be cross referenced with the VA to see who served in the military. In reality, I doubt if either agency will be able to or willing to do such a search. Another approach, which would be much less accurate or complete but much more likely to be doable would be to ask all of our known alumni if they knew of anyone who dropped out to join the military.  

Thank you for caring and thank you for serving. Hopefully those "thank yous" will get passed on to all of those who served.  John Tomlinson                            

P.S. Frank responded to my letter with valid concerns regarding privacy issues and resistance by both of those governmental agencies to generating and or sharing such information. Having worked with both agencies, I totally agree with him, which basically leaves the burden of thanking our veterans to us. How appropriate. Maybe we can take a few moments at our 50th to do just that. "Thank you" is an easy thing to say that means a great deal and is good for the soul.