DHS Close Up Students Off To D.C. & Gettysburg Next Week

Mr. Billingsley writes in…

The Decatur High School Close Up Club will send 15 students to Washington, D.C. on April 11 for a week of government policy making and citizenship training. One of my goals is to connect the 9th and 10th grade students to past events that played a major role in the history of the United States.

On April 11, at 3:15, students will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The wreath will be dedicated to LCDR Harry S. Edwards and SGT Jonathan B. Shields. These former DHS students were killed in action while serving in the military(Edwards in Vietnam and Shields in Iraq).

Later in the week, we will visit the Gettysburg National Battlefield to lay a wreath on the 11th Mississippi monument. Ms. Clyde McCarty, a Decatur homeowner and retired teacher,is one of the few living descendants of Pvt. Joseph Gates Marble. During Pickett’s Charge, Pvt. Marable carried the colors of his unit closer to the federal troops than any other Confederate unit before being captured. Dale Gallon who personally dedicated a copy of his work to Ms. McCarty shows that event in a painting. Marable was her great uncle. The event and painting can be viewed at http://faculty.swosu.edu/scott.long/11thmiss/homepage/11thmiss.htm

In addition to these stories, more than half the students have received scholarships to attend Close Up. Two of the students have parents who lost their jobs. A single mom had her teaching hours cut. Almost all of the students raised money through their own fund raising efforts. Without the help of several local institutions, such as the Decatur Education Foundation,the Decatur Rotary Club, the Decatur Craft Beer Festival, the Glenn Creek Nature Preserve Neighborhood Association, who have generously contributed scholarship for this trip, most of these students would never made the final payment.

I don’t know if there is a story here but you are welcome to it. Maybe it’s the sacrifice that parents make for their children’s education. Maybe it’s the comfort that some parents feel knowing that the next generation remembers those who made the supreme sacrifice for their country. Or maybe it’s the connection that this generation can make with those who still honor family members who fought at Gettysburg. Is there a story here?