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Seabeck students give a star-spangled salute

Bennie Hodder plays “Taps” Monday, Nov, 10 at the Veterans Day event  held at Seabeck Elementary School.  The entire student body gathered in the school gym to commemorate military veterans. - Photo by Tracey Cooper
Bennie Hodder plays “Taps” Monday, Nov, 10 at the Veterans Day event held at Seabeck Elementary School. The entire student body gathered in the school gym to commemorate military veterans.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

Seabeck students paid tribute to their country and the people who protect it in a Veterans Day program Monday.

The hour-long presentation touched on the country’s history with student presentations and patriotic songs from the choir and band.

Silverdale resident Mike Murray, a retired Navy commander, chose to tell about other veteran’s exploits rather than tell his own “sea stories.”

He described POW/MIA Rear Adm. Robert Byron Fuller’s capture and torture after his plane was shot down in Vietnam. His plane was traveling at 400 knots when he ejected causing him to flail and break an arm and leg. He was tortured and held captive for five and a half years.

The only indication of his ordeal, Murray said, is he couldn’t raise his arm high enough to salute.

“There was no trace of bitterness whatsoever,” said Murray who met Fuller while serving on the aircraft carrier USS America.

“That’s character, that’s leadership,” he said.

Murray, a Berkeley, Calif., native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and earned his gold wings. He served as an aviation maintenance officer for the USS Nimitz during Operation Desert Storm.

Her served 26 years in the Navy, visiting 45 countries and 49 states, but this was his first time to visit Seabeck Elementary.

“There’s no place like America,” Murray said.

“There are two places that come close, England and Israel, he continued.

Part of the greatness of the nation came from its founding fathers, Murray said.

“Their genius, their gift was their study of previous governments and profound knowledge of human nature,” he said.

Students presented pieces of the country’s history as well.

Seabeck sixth grader Madison Peterson presented a history of the pledge of allegiance, Trisha Bolte and Darren Norwood shared facts about the national bird and Alyssa Plaggemeyer talked about the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Courtney Hargrave read a thank you letter to her grandfather and Jessica Danford discussed gun salutes. Aaron Kasson and Scott Denton illustrated how to display a flag at half-staff. Phillip Dachenhausen and Corey Hines presented the proper way to display a flag. Mike Swain presented information on the Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and JFK Memorial.

Students Michael Hawk and Meghan Churchill discussed the original American flag and how it compares to today’s version.

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