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No, Beaverton School District's renaming policy is not anti-hero

In his Citizen’s View column, “Anti-hero policy prolongs pain,” in the Jan. 17 issue of the Beaverton Valley Times, Alan Lohner characterizes as “anti-hero” the Beaverton School District policy prohibiting the naming of Southridge High School’s athletic field for service member Andrew Keller, a Southridge High graduate killed in Afghanistan.

Mr. Lohner writes further that the managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times reports the newspaper has not received even one letter opposing a change of that policy. This is a letter, from a veteran, opposing change to the district policy.

As I view my old high school, Southridge High and every part of it, in a real sense, stands as a monument to every student whoever attended Southridge. Indeed, also a monument to every teacher and administrator who ever served the education function in that school.

As a part of Southridge, the athletic field is a monument to every student who ever participated in athletics on that field, whether as a player, benchwarmer, cheerleader, student spectator or coach. And it should remain so. The athletic field should not be considered a monument to any one former student, no matter their post-graduate achievements, whether academic, scientific, business, first-responder, military or whatever.

Rather than naming school facilities for fallen service members, heroes or not, there are more appropriate means of commemorating military service. There are monuments honoring service members located in all parts of the nation and Oregon. (For a list of the many memorials in Oregon, google: Veterans Memorials in Oregon.)

In Beaverton, we have the Memorial Park honoring service members of all wars. To have an engraved brick in Pfc. Keller’s honor placed at that park, among the engraved bricks honoring scores of other service members, would be appropriate, and in my view, an honor to Pfc. Keller.

In my experience, Southridge High School itself is not anti-military and certainly not anti-hero. In years past, I and many other veterans have been invited to Southridge on what I believe was called Living History Day. We veterans were honored by having been invited in the first place. Then even more so by the Southridge students and faculty who listened to and questioned us about our military experiences.

I respect and admire the board members who have stood by the policy at issue.

Robert H. Thornhill is a Beaverton resident.



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