With this past Monday being Veteran’s Day, several schools in Camas and Washougal marked the occasion with assemblies, brunches, patriotic singing and guest speakers. This year, the Post-Record will focus on Hathaway Elementary School’s efforts. Next year, another local school will be selected.
Hathaway fifth-graders had the opportunity to hear first-hand from World War II veteran and Washougal resident, Duncan MacDonald.
MacDonald, 86, told the students about running away from his home on Mount Pleasant at age 16 to join the Navy. With his keen eyesight, he was given the assignment of range finder, and would help shoot down enemy planes that were threatening his ship.
Tears filled his eyes as he described how one Kamikaze plane hit his ship, and he watched as his mates jumped into the water to avoid the flames.
MacDonald was at Tokyo Bay and witnessed the Japanese surrender. He shared the letter he wrote and sent home in 1945, in which he commemorated, in detail, that day.
Fifth-grade teacher, Andrew Schlaugh, stood up at an assembly later in the week and shared his thoughts.
“It was a great experience for the students, and it brought tears to my eyes,” he said.
At that same assembly Friday, a sea of red, white and blue filled the gym. Each class chose to honor veterans in some way, whether it was by making patriotic hats, creating “pictures” of soldiers, or creating a “wall of honor” with photos and stories of veterans in their families.
The Washougal High School X-Tet choir performed patriotic songs, while veterans, spanning generations, sat and listened under a sign which simply read, “Thank you, veterans.”