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Celebrating the Veterans of Wheeling Park

Celebrating+the+Veterans+of+Wheeling+Park

In 1954, November 11th was declared a national holiday known as Veterans’ Day. To some, this day may just be a break from school, but to others, this day is used for much more. Wheeling Park has many veterans in our halls including Erin Bowers, Ben Wagner, and Sergeant Andrea Gump.

Erin Bowers, age 17, on her last day of basic training

“It’s a day that we want to remember our veterans who’ve given service to our country, whether it be in peacetime, wartime, anything like that,” residential education liaison of Wheeling Park High School Erin Bowers said. “I usually try to go to one of the Veterans’ Day services… there’s one at Wesbanco Arena put on by the American Legion, I usually go to that.” Ms. Bowers served six years in the Army Reserves and was deployed during Operation Desert Storm. “[While you’re away] you’re definitely homesick. It makes you appreciate what you have here in the United States… When you come back, you look at things from a different perspective because you see things in other countries… Honduras has very elite rich and it has really, very poor… we saw people actually taking baths in the creeks and we saw them living in little shacks.”

Meanwhile, Ben Wagner, a cafeteria worker, will send old boot camp pictures to friends he served with. He served in Italy for three years in the US Navy. “I had to buy a special card and use a pay phone in the street and call at night because there was a six-hour difference in time.” His advice for anyone with a loved one who’s away serving our country is to remember, “they’re around good people. They’ll be alright. The way it is with cell phones now, you can keep in touch with them.”

Sergeant Andrea Gump, Wheeling Park’s military counselor, will be “speaking at multiple different middle schools, grade schools, and high schools throughout our community… I’m booked up every day next week.” She’s also the chaplain at American Legion Benwood Post 46 and will be speaking and praying on behalf of the audience. “Honoring those people that have paved the path for me to be able to serve in the way that I do is definitely going to be a priority for me, and always has been… Usually, on Veterans’ Day, I take some time to do some self-care and reflect on my service.” If you’re thinking of joining the military, but are unsure of your decision, Sergeant Gump advises you “Do your research… Don’t let one conversation dictate your decision. Have conversions with multiple people who have experienced different things. Talk with your friends, watch YouTube videos, read news articles.”

Adam Carman, a Wheeling Park senior, recently returned from 10 weeks of basic training, said about how his time away affected him, “I eat a lot faster… Certain things seem easier. Classwork seems easier… Most people who know me personally, they’ll say ‘You’re a completely different person since you’ve been back.’” When asked about what Veterans’ Day means to him, he said, “I see it as a day to show the appreciation for all that the military has done… and things that I hope to do.”

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About the Contributor
Shelby Gibson
Shelby Gibson, Staff Writer
  • Journalism I
  • Senior (They/ Them)
  • Towngate Community Theater, Park Players, National Thespian Society, National Honors Society, Dungeons and Dragons with friends, and GSA
  • "Be the chaos you want to see in the world." --Mollymauk Tealeaf
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