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Michigan teachers honor veterans who are former students

November 10, 2019
This Nov. 6, 2019 photo shows Forest Hills Central High School's wall to honor graduates who joined the armed services in, Ada Township, Mich. The wall will be dedicated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2019. One part of the wall has dog tags representing alumni in every military branch. Another part includes pictures honoring those who sacrificed their lives. (Elizabeth Brink/ Forest Hills Public Schools via AP)
This Nov. 6, 2019 photo shows Forest Hills Central High School's wall to honor graduates who joined the armed services in, Ada Township, Mich. The wall will be dedicated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2019. One part of the wall has dog tags representing alumni in every military branch. Another part includes pictures honoring those who sacrificed their lives. (Elizabeth Brink/ Forest Hills Public Schools via AP)

ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Two history teachers at a Michigan high school have created a Veterans Wall of Honor to pay tribute to former students who have served their country.

Steve Labenz and Brad Anderson, teachers at Forest Hills Central High School, want the memorial to serve as a lesson on service and sacrifice that students can’t get from reading a textbook.

“I am changed. And I know the students who will be involved moving forward in developing historical evidence and helping us gather more, they will be moved as well,” Anderson said.

One part of the wall features dog tags representing alumni in every military branch, WOOD-TV reported. Another part includes pictures honoring those who were killed.

“These are their pictures. They have all the same hopes and dreams that these kids did,” Labenz said.

The memorial also has an interactive program, where students can look up photos and details of the graduates’ lives and experiences. The memorial will be dedicated on Veterans Day.

“You can look for anybody, and this is limitless. We can put anything we want on here,” Labenz noted.

Anderson said it’s a great opportunity for students to interview community members and learn more about their stories and history.

“We know these people. We know their stories. We know their names, their neighbors, their friends,” Anderson said. “These shadow boxes have the dog tag names. And again, we’re still working on them. We don’t have all of them. I believe we’ve just scratched the surface.”

The teachers said there’s room to expand the wall, which was built with donated items from the community. The community has also provided much of the veteran information.

“There’s no record of who goes on to the military,” Anderson said. “A lot of times, it might be a year after they graduate that they go into the military, so there’s no record of it here at the high school.”

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Information from: WOOD-TV, http://www.woodtv.com