This World War II Army veteran age 86 submits that the Beaverton School Board should honor the life of Pfc. Andrew Keller by naming Southridge High School’s athletic field for the fallen hero.

From what I read, the excuse for not honoring Pfc. Keller is “policy.”

Do school records on the policy issue indicate that the school district board of directors would not honor a school graduate killed in action? The board has the burden of proving that it discussed the controversial issue and decided against honoring the memory of a war hero. The policy excuse is lame and should be ignored.

Opponent Robert H. Thornhill claims the Southridge High School athletic field “is a monument to every student who participated on that field.” There is a distinction between a seated civilian student attending a game and a distinguished graduate who did more than sit in the stands: Pfc. Keller fought to defend his country. Civilian students in the stands did not.

Pfc. Keller served his country. Tell me, how a civilian student sitting in the stands “served his country,” to the extent of Pfc. Keller’s actual military service?

Opponent Thornhill concedes “there are monuments honoring service members located... in Oregon.” True.

But there is no specific Oregon memorial for Pfc. Keller, who distinguished himself as a high school student and as a member of the United States Army.

There is more to the issue than a general policy.

I challenge Thornhill to debate “Resolved: the Beaverton School District should name the Southridge High School athletic field for Pfc. Keller.”

Meanwhile, each school district director might state in a signed statement all facts and reasons supporting or opposing naming the athletic field for Pfc. Keller. Each director’s statement could be forwarded to the Beaverton Valley Times for publication.

Refusal of the School Board to name the athletic field for Pfc. Keller would be an unfortunate campaign issue for incumbents seeking reelection.

Thousands of veterans and their families live and vote in the school district.

School board directors for the present policy may be opposed for reelection.

I challenge Thornhill to debate the following resolution during the 2013 primary election season at Southridge High School: The Beaverton School District Board of Directors should rename the Southridge High School athletic field to honor the memory of Pfc. Andrew Keller, a distinguished Southridge High School graduate killed in Afghanistan.” Good debate sites would be the Southridge High School auditorium or the Beaverton City Council chambers. Either can provide television debate coverage for a large school district parent-student audience.

The debaters might argue whether a memorial to Pfc. Keller would harm the school, the school district or any person.

Some might argue that creating the memorial would harm or not harm the school’s athletic field.

Thornhill’s letter does not identify any harm if the school district names the athletic field for Pfc. Keller.

Assuming they exist, I look forward to reading a long list of Oregon high schools, colleges and universities that created memorials and suffered harm.

No citation is evidence that an educational institution’s memorializing a person does not harm Oregon education institutions.

I respect and admire board members who support a Southridge High School athletic field memorial honoring hero Pfc. Andrew Keller. They are more likely to be reelected than supporters of Mr. Thornhill’s views.

Let the lively fact-filled debate commence during the spring of 2013.

Henry Kane is a Beaverton resident.

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