Vogelweh elementary opens up ‘Wall of Honor’

Story and photo by Mark Heeter
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

The walls of the Vogelweh Elementary School gymnasium transformed into a monument of students’ colorful collages, dedicated to veterans and all those who are serving and have served.

During the week of Veteran’s Day, the school hosted two celebrations for the “Wall of Honor,” which included veterans and KMC leaders offering thoughts on the meaning of being a veteran and why they have served.

“Whatever you do in life, you should do it in service, ” whether to the country or simply to other people, said Lt. Col. Lars Zetterstrom, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern commander, guest speaker at the event held Tuesday.

Zetterstrom, whose parents enrolled him in the U.S. Military Academy at the 17, noted that he has been in uniform for more than half his life.

“I love serving our country,” he said. “Would I do it over? Absolutely. In a heartbeat.”

U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern Command Sgt. Maj. Gene Canada, who grew up with the military and attended DODDS schools, thanked the school officials who hosted the event and thanked them – and the packed audience —

for their contributions to the military. And he had a special message for the many children in the crowd.

“I’ve deployed a couple times. And I had the honor of working with Iraqis and interacting with children there. They want to learn, just like

you,” Canada said.

“I love America. I love our country. I love where we come from,” Canada said, on his reasons for continuing in his father’s footsteps. “Selfless service is part of being a veteran.”

A third veteran, George Robert Meachem Sr., who served two tours in Vietnam with a stint in Germany in between, was joined by Canada and fellow Third Infantry Division veteran Zetterstrom, for a rendition of the division song, “Dog Face Soldier.” 

“I didn’t want to go (to Vietnam),” Meachem said. “But I went, because I believed in the cause for which we fought.”