NEW PARIS — National Trail Local School District administrators are planning to install digital displays in two of the school’s common areas to honor the service of local veterans.
“I’ve had this idea for a while,” Superintendent Bob Fischer said. “I’ve always enjoyed seeing how different people and different communities try to honor their veterans. Our freedoms are where they are because of the fight that our veterans and our military service members have provided for us.”
One challenge of how to honor National Trail graduates who have served, according to Fischer, stems from the fact that the school was consolidated out of a number of separate districts.
“How do you ensure that everybody gets the right notification as to where they’re from?” Fischer asked. “With us being a school district that serves multiple communities – how do you honor these people? I’ve got people from New Paris, people that live in West Manchester, people who live in Eldorado. I’ve got people that live all over the place.”
The answer came about following a visit to another school.
“I saw something and I said, ‘That’s it,’” Fischer said.
Called ‘The Wall of Military Heroes,’ the initial display will consist of a 70-inch television screen showing digital images of the school district’s veterans, according to Fischer. Each image will be accompanied by text identifying the individual’s graduation year, the branch of the military in which they served, and the years of their service.
Fischer has put out a call to local community members to provide him with the relevant information and images. Graduation pictures or photos of the veterans in their service uniforms are preferred, according to Fischer, who said he has already collected over 20 images.
“As of now, I”ve got some that are as old as the 1930s,” Fischer said. “The oldest is an individual who graduated in 1932. The most recent one is 2019. I’m expecting an image of a WWI vet that’s over a hundred-plus years ago. And we’ll just keep adding to it as time goes on.”
The advantage of a digital display is that it’s easy to continually update, according to Fischer, as opposed to the costly proposition of adding names to a plaque or some other physical display.
The first TV will be placed in the High School common area, Fischer said, with another expected to be added in the commons between the K-8 building and the high school sometime during the 2021-22 school year.
“You always want to find ways to honor those who have done for our country,” Fischer said. “I have many family members who have been in the military, so I know the toll it took on them emotionally and the effect it had on their families.”
Finally, Fischer felt the display would be of educational value to National Trail’s students.
“I think it’s a great way for our youth to see who has truly helped form the freedoms that they benefit from, and know how many we’ve had from our district who have fought,” Fischer said. “I think it’s awesome that we’re able to show that history all the way back to at least World War I.”
“These kids have no idea who some of these individuals were, and what their role was – what National Trail’s role was – in the world’s history. In America’s history,” Fischer continued. “To be able to have a documented way of showing that, to me, is a great lesson for our kids to see every day as they walk past.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish