TIFFIN– “The whole world was in flames.”
Those words were spoken by retired Major General Robert Sentman as he spoke to a crowd Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Middle School’s third annual Veterans Day Program.
Special guest Gen. Sentman described WWII and the rapidly-dwindling number of veterans of that conflict. Six men who fought for their country during World War II received special recognition before a crowd of approximately 150 veterans, family and friends who attended the event organized by eighth grade social studies teacher Kim Meller.
The general noted nearly half of the country’s naval fleet was destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. “From that small start to the end, we had over 16 million in uniform,” he said. Gen. Sentman recognized each honoree and gave a brief summary of where he served.
Ralph Brown served in the Army with the 75th Infantry Division and was among the survivors of what has become known as “The Battle of the Bulge,” a turning point in the war under brutal winter conditions where Allied troops were outnumbered seven to one, Sentman said.
In addition to Brown, Elmer Brumely, Dean Crow, Donald Klenk and Henry Schuhmaker were recognized. Delbert Hesseltine was remembered posthumously.
“I was trained by the WWII crowd,” Gen. Sentman said, adding their role in history has been mischaracterized. “They were not ‘a part of history.’ They made history.”
Middle school students served breakfast to the veterans prior to the ceremony, and presented their relatives with certificates of appreciation during the event. Veterans represented America’s conflicts from WWII to the current, with CCA alumni Dylan Pritchard and Eric Less, both members of the Iowa Army National Guard, presenting the Colors to start the ceremony.
“Every year we’re trying for bigger and better,” said Middle School Principal Brad Fox.