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Veterans encourage students to contribute to society

Tigard High hosts patriotic tribute at Friday assembly

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: BARBARA SHERMAN - A member of the Tigard High School choir greets World War II veteran Marion Hill following the annual Veterans' Assembly on Friday, with 54 veterans attending this year to be honored and recognized by the entire student body.Tigard High School has been hosting an annual Veterans’ Assembly for decades, and World War II veteran Marion Hill has been there for the last dozen of them.

“The first one I went to was not well attended, and that put me on a buzz to get more guys to come,” the Summerfield resident said. He has worked to get the word out over the years, and this year at the Friday, Nov. 7, event, there were 54 veterans recognized, with some in attendance no doubt due to Hill’s efforts.

The THS band, under the direction of Jim Irving, played the service songs for the five branches of the military as veterans in each service were asked to stand, and two THS choirs, led by Sue Hale, sang several songs accompanied by the band.

As a sign of the times, the two featured speakers were both women, with Navy veteran Barbara Davis telling the auditorium full of students that her father graduated from THS in 1936, when there were 19 in his class, and he joined the Navy at age 18.

Davis, who served from 1971 to 1998, appreciates the training she got in the Navy as well as the military paying for 90 percent of her bachelor’s degree. She received a commission and went on to earn her master’s degree as well.

She also credited the Navy with experiences she could have gotten nowhere else, from descending 2,000 feet below the surface of the ocean to flying in a plane off an aircraft carrier. But being a woman before the military truly opened the doors for them meant limitations as well.

“The regional commander qualified me for nuclear power school, but I couldn’t go because I was a girl,” Davis said.

When Davis joined, women made up 1/10th of 1 percent of the Navy, and when she left, women made up 11 percent. “We went from no duty aboard ships and few choices to (the opportunities) we have today,” she said.

During her talk, Davis acknowledged Marion Hill for serving in the Army Air Corps during WWII and participating in the Battle of the Bulge, for which he received a thunderous standing ovation.

Davis also promoted the American Legion, where she is a member of Tigard Post 158. “If you have a relative who served, you can join,” she said.

The second speaker was Beaverton resident Lacey Beaty, who was a high school senior on Sept. 11, 2001, and explained, “I was headed toward college, but the world changed on 9/11. On the way home from school, I decided not to go to college but join the Army instead.”

Beaty, who served as a combat medic in the early days of the Iraq war, said, “I treated the sick, the wounded, the dying, and every time I got the same message from them — to make their sacrifice worth it.”

She added, “I was there in Iraq when women voted for the first time, even though it was dangerous for them."

Yet despite the efforts of the U.S. to bring peace to areas where conflicts rage, “we’re still a country at war,” said Beaty, who was elected Nov. 4 to the Beaverton City Council.

Like Davis, Beaty earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees courtesy of the military, and following her stint in the Army, she started doing community service, noting, “Coaching saved my life.”

Speaking to everyone in the room, Beaty said, “We in this room have the capacity to change this community, this country, and for some of you, even the world. Today, thank a veteran when you see one. Do something for someone.”

The THS leadership class organized the event and hosted all the veterans at a breakfast in the commons before the assembly.

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