Friends and family members gathered in front of Royle School in the hours before class began on Friday, Nov. 10 to honor those who served for Veterans Day. State Senator Bob Duff attended, and the morning was full of smiling faces and patriotism.
Principal Dean Ketchum welcomed the crowd, followed by a singing of the national anthem by the Minstrel Choir. Then Ketchum introduced the veterans who were in attendance that morning.
Master Sergeant Brian Hynes, of the US Army, is the father of two Royle students. Hynes served in the Middle East and Panama as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Ted Huffman is the father of two at Royle. Huffman served in the Navy as a surface warfare officer, earning the rank of lieutenant. He was deployed to the Red Sea and served as a board officer enforcing the UN blockade against Iraq in 1992-93. Huffman also performed drug interdiction operations in the Mediterranean Sea, Central Pacific, and Caribbean Sea. In total, Huffman steamed over 50,000 miles at sea, visited over 30 countries, and traversed the Panama Canal and Suez Canal three and four times, respectively.
Charles Rose is the grandfather of three at Royle. Rose served in the Navy from 1952-59, with deployments ranging from the North Atlantic down to the Panama and Suez Canals, and the Mediterranean Sea. Sergeant Lloyd Corbett is the grandfather of two at Royle, and served in the Army. Corbett served in the infantry and fought in the Vietnam War.
Captain Wil Ward is the father of two at Royle, and served in the Army, including four years of active duty as a combat engineer. Brian Callahan has a granddaughter at Royle and served in the Marine Corps. Callahan served in 1967, 1968, and 1969 in the US and in Germany. Involved in communications including intercept, some of Callahan’s work went directly to the NSA.
Robert Rentz has three grandchildren at Royle, and served three years in the Air Force. Rentz served three years as a physician, treating military and dependent personnel in Europe and in the US.
Sergeant Joseph Squeo is a 5th grade teacher at Royle and served in the Air Force. Squeo was stationed in Japan from 1967-69, and was assigned to handle and supervise the repair of F-4 fighter aircraft weapon delivery systems. He was deployed to South Korea twice in 1969, and served in South Vietnam from July 1969 until July 1970. He was honorably discharged on his birthday, July 26, 1970.
Michael Aldrich served in the U.S Army. His granddaughter, Lucy Spellman, goes to Royle. Aldrich and Spellman together raised the flag on Friday morning as Taps played, and then lowered the flag to half staff. Aldrich graduated from West Point in 1972 and was a commissioned officer in the field artillery. Aldrich was sent by the army for his graduate degree in Systems Management at USC, and was assigned to HQ, US forces in Japan and later US Army in Japan. Aldrich had a total service of over nine years, and had Airborne and Ranger training. He separated from active duty with the rank of Captain.
The guest speaker for the day was Staff Sergeant Clinton Tarzia. Tarzia has two cousins who attend Royle. Tarzia is a paratrooper of the 982nd Combat Camera unit out of Wilson, North Carolina. He was sent to Kirkuk, Iraq to serve on the front lines, documenting all events that occurred during Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2003 to April 2004, and was the eyes and ears for decisions made by high ranking officials. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service.
Tarzia spoke about how veterans are simply ordinary people that felt an extraordinary call.
“The people we honor today come from all walks of life. They are our teachers, our custodians, our postal workers, our doctors, and our store clerks,” said Tarzia.
“We possess courage, pride, determination, selfless, and a dedication to duty,” Tarzia added, “all the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than ourselves.”
“We are ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways when our country needed us,” Tarzia said, describing his time serving in Iraq. “What makes today special is all of you being here. It is a way to remember, honor, and celebrate the men and women who protected our freedom. God bless you and your families, our troops, and God bless America,” Tarzia closed before turning to salute his fellow veterans.
Following Tarzia’s speech, the choir performed again, singing the Song for the Unsung Hero and God Bless America.