Honoring Military Plaques

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Military plaques by Hall 1.

Garrett Byrne, Journalist

OHS has many plaques posted around the school that show achievement, whether it be academic or athletic, among students throughout history and plaques that honor staff members or past students. However, among the plethora of accolades accredited to OHS students and staff, there stands a small memorial that is often overlooked. Between the first and second halls of OHS near the north street entrance, there are four tablets that honor OHS students who served and died during wartime. One from World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Along with the range of other accomplishments achieved by students and staff that carry a plaque, the military service of past OHS students is still respected and not forgotten. 

When searching for input from teachers about these war memorial plaques dedicated to OHS students who served, Robert Bach, English Teacher, commented that “the plaques should be placed in a place where people linger, such as the commons. This could hopefully increase acknowledgment from students and staff of these plaques.” Currently, these plates are hung in a place where students pass between classes during a passing period and don’t really have time to acknowledge them. Concerning the idea that military service among students could be increased by adding more commemorative slates, Bach stated that “It wouldn’t be productive to ramp up celebration of military accomplishments, but add recent military achievements along with other student achievements that are altruistic, sacrificial, and innovative in nature.” 

The history of military service at OHS has gone back more than a hundred years, with the oldest military plaque going back to 1918 at the end of WW1. Concerning what these slabs emphasize, one aspect would be, as Brent Kabat, History Teacher, put it, “These plaques show some history about the school and also honor students who did serve and unfortunately were killed.” Concerning the intent of these plaques and what they imply, Kabat commented, “I don’t think they’re to glorify the conflict that they fought in, but they’re there to remember and honor what was lost. I think they’re also there to say that their lives were cut short and the plaques give us something to remember them by.”

Students have also commented on these plaques. Jacob T. E. Norris, OHS Senior, commented “It’s quite admirable and it shows a level of honor we should all respect and strive towards.” Norris also commented, “My Grandfather was conscripted during the Korean War and was stationed in Guam so I have a high level of respect for service members.” Since OHS has acknowledged its military history, Norris commented “I’m glad that OHS has taken the time to acknowledge its service members.” 

There are many examples of student excellence throughout OHS ranging from academic to athletic which shows the history of student achievement at OHS. However, military service has not been forgotten and commemorative plaques have been dedicated to the names of OHS students who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice.