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Sat, Dec. 14

Kingman High School honors veterans

Junior Rob Kuzma offered perhaps the most stirring moments Friday during the seventh annual Kingman High School Veteran's Day Tribute.

Kuzma related a story he had heard during a trip to Washington, D.C.

from James Bradley, the son of one of the six marines, who are forever emblazoned in our history for raising the American flag over Iwo Jima during World War II.

The six marines were Harlon Block, Rene Gagnon, Mike Strank, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley and John Bradley.

Hayes, a Pima Indian, later went to the White House to meet with and be recognized as a hero by President Harry Truman.

Hayes reportedly told Truman 250 marines from his class at school went ashore on Iwo Jima and just 27 made it off the Pacific island alive.

A total of 7,000 marines died in the battle.

Bradley avoided interviews with the media after the war.

"You see, my dad didn't see himself as a hero," James Bradley told Kuzma.

"Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and a monument.

"My dad knew better.

He was a medic."

"In Iwo Jima, he probably held over 200 boys as they died.

And when the boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain."

After Kuzma finished and left the stage in the auditorium at Kingman High School North to a round of applause, school Principal Pat Mickelson said, "That reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice many of us have chosen to make."

The Social Studies Department organizes the annual tribute, while administrative assistant Annie Lawson coordinates arrangements, including getting VFW Post No.

3516 members to present colors at the start of the program.

"The people who've fought to give us the freedoms we have need to be recognized," said Joan Noble, social studies faculty member.

"It cost them.

"For our young people this is a good way to pass along the traditions and values of being an American citizen."

Social studies department faculty members Telitha Scofield and Johnny Billingsley read the names of 50 Kingman High School graduates now serving on active duty.

'Thank you for being so patriotic to your country and willing to keep us free," Scofield said as she finished.

Johnny Billingsley, another social studies faculty member, then read a list of 17 other active duty personnel who helped prepare for the war in Iraq or served there, plus the names of two graduates killed on active duty, Josh McIntosh and Ron Hulce.

"Taps" was played after the names of McIntosh and Hulce were read.

Mickelson asked former military personnel present to stand with those from each branch rising in turn to applause.

People present with relatives on active duty or who formerly served also were asked to stand.

"I think you begin to see the scope of the cost this duty has on us," Mickelson said.

Students Lucy Henson, Jelyn Cummins, Angelica Amador and Sydney Hart read poetry or personal tributes before Kuzma went to the podium to relate "A Tale of Six Boys" toward the end of the program.

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