Vollmer’s Third Graders Participate in Vietnam War Veterans Day Ceremony
Submitted by: Dani Bell
Central Elementary third grade teacher, Mrs. J'dean Vollmer, is very proud of her Vietnam Veteran father, Tom Gordon, who served as a medic in the Army in Vietnam. Teaching her students to honor veterans and understand the sacrifices they have made for our country is a passion of hers. Vollmer believes in providing learning opportunities, beyond standard classroom practices, with the hope her students will connect to the subject in a way they may not through a textbook.
This past December, Mr. Tom Estes, District 4 Director of the local Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), visited Vollmer’s classroom, giving her a donation to help offset some of the expenses she has each year. Her students also made Christmas cards for the local veterans in nursing homes, which were distributed by the group of men/women in the local area.
As National Vietnam War Veterans Day approached, Vollmer was contacted by VVA with an invitation for her class to participate in the local ceremony, which took place March 29th, at the Worthington Park in Logan. Many community members and veterans joined the third graders in the park, creating a moving sight in downtown Logan, on a beautiful spring day.
During the ceremony, Vollmer’s students were given the privilege of leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Two students were also given the honor of laying a wreath on the Vietnam Veterans memorial in the park. The playing of Taps and a 21 gun salute to the veterans gained every student’s attention, making it obvious each child understood it was an honor to simply be participating in the ceremony.
Once the ceremony concluded, Mr. Estes took the time to answer the students’ questions. Anyone still present was grateful to hear the perspective of the children. Multiple hands raced in the air, as they patiently took turns delivering such well thought out questions. They wondered the name of the person who sat at the table. They inquired how long everyone will wait for them to come home. Their curiosity drove them to wanting to know the meaning of each item at the table.
Vollmer eloquently spoke to her students of the impact the Vietnam War had on many families, including hers. Not only was her father called to serve in the war, but her great uncle was, as well. David H. Lewis was a staff Sargent in the 1st Aviation BDE, USARV. He died February 19, 1968 when his helicopter was shot down (just five days before Vollmer was born!). Her emotions were evident, as she shared, “I can’t talk about all this without getting worked up.” Moments later, she was approached by a student of hers, who was so moved by her words and seeing her sad, he began wiping away his own tears, thus exemplifying the power of education.
In addition to learning important dates and facts about the Vietnam War, Vollmer’s students were able to personally meet Vietnam Veterans, see their uniforms up close and hear some compelling details firsthand. Without a doubt, the children walked back to Central Elementary impacted by what they were fortunate to witness. The wonderful thing is the veterans would argue the impact was greater for them, as nothing beats seeing our youth eagerly learning about an important part of history - a war that has made them the men and women they are today.
Ceremony Facebook Photo Album
For full details on the Vietnam Veterans Ceremony, read the
Logan Daily News Press Release
For more on Vietnam Veterans of America: https://vva.org/