Lyons Township High School honors veterans
LTHS social studies teacher and Navy veteran James Hernon was the keynote speaker as he explained what Veterans Day meant to him. Lyons Township High School hosted its third annual Veterans Day celebration Friday afternoon. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Me
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:13AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Whether it’s in the military or a soup kitchen line, students at Lyons Township High School should consider ways to help their fellow man, a teacher and Navy veteran said during an assembly Friday to honor veterans.
“Some of you will serve in military uniform. Others will instead be called upon to serve in some other way,” world history teacher James Hernon told freshmen and sophomores at the south campus. A second assembly was scheduled in the afternoon for upperclassmen at the north campus in La Grange.
Hernon, who was a lieutenant after serving 10 years in various ports as a supply corps officer, said he played a behind-the-scenes role in helping the Navy carry out its mission.
“Nobody makes a Hollywood movie about a supply corps officer,” he said and smiled. “But I’m here as a representative of the millions of average Americans who served without fanfare.
“They left home, made sacrifices and worked hard. They served with honor and pride for a worthy cause more important than themselves,” he said.
The assembly also highlighted the military service of three alumni who were inducted into the LT Hall of Fame for 2012.
Lee Russell graduated in 1940, became a pilot and flew in World War II, when his plan was shot down by Germans and he escaped from a camp near Nuremberg. Russell went on to fly missions in Korea and Vietnam, earning numerous decorations. Salvatore Grisaffe, a 1952 graduate, served three years in the Air Force in Korea before launching a career of more than 30 years in rocket research and management for NASA.
David Warsh, a 1962 graduate, enlisted in the Navy in 1965 and served as a Vietnam war correspondent for Stars and Stripes and later Newsweek before becoming an award winning economic journalist and author.
Students also watched a video updating the progress of Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Misiewicz, a 2006 graduate who lost both legs in July 2011 to a bomb blast while on patrol in Afghanistan.
Misiewicz, an LT hockey star, is continuing his recovery at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., for another four months. He is walking with prosthetic legs, being fitted for advanced prosthetics for running, learning to drive a car with hand controls, and playing ice hockey seated on a sled.
Edward Satala of La Grange, who served in the Army infantry in Korea, said he appreciated the students’ recognition and wished additional veterans would have had the chance to attend.
Freshman Jacob Jimenez of Countryside, who takes part in a high school ROTC program in Forest Park, said the assembly was meaningful.
“It was really awesome and really respectful of the veterans,” Jimenez said.