2017-02-13 / Local News

GHS students continue telling veterans’ stories

By SCOTT POWELL
Ledger Staff Writer


Gaffney High students are shown with a local veteran Thursday evening following an assembly program. Students presented 19 veterans with their own personal copy of a book with student interviews about their military service during The Gulf War. Gaffney High students are shown with a local veteran Thursday evening following an assembly program. Students presented 19 veterans with their own personal copy of a book with student interviews about their military service during The Gulf War. Gaffney High students continued their efforts to remember local veterans Thursday through interviews about their military service in the Persian Gulf War.

During an evening assembly, Gaffney High students presented 19 veterans from Operation Desert Storm with their own personal copy of the book “American Veterans: True Accounts of Cherokee County Soldiers - The Gulf War.” The book features student interviews with area men and women about how the war affected them personally and their families.

Born in Milwaukee, Gaffney High art teacher Jeff Mages grew up with family members in the U.S. Army. He was 19 when he decided to enlist in the Army and spent nearly 20 years serving in the military.

He took time to speak with four Gaffney High history students about his experience serving the country in the Gulf War.

“It was a great experience talking to him,” Gaffney High student Morgan Whitley said. “We don’t get to see this part of his life when we are in class. It was really interesting to learn more about the history of the Gulf War. We are thankful to Jeff Mages and our veterans for their service to our country.”

The Persian Gulf War was a U.S.-led effort to oust Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from Kuwait following the dictator’s invasion in August of 1990.

It was a short war by modern standards. Combat lasted about a month-and-a-half, claiming 149 American lives. This is the first Gaffney High student book about local Gulf War veterans.

Gaffney resident Charles Davis served in the U.S. Navy from 1980-1992. He recalls his experience in the Navy as being exciting, carrying airplanes with bombs and missiles.

“He had to make sure the planes took off from the flight deck on time in order for the other ones to land, all while avoiding getting run over,” according to a student essay about Davis. “Keep in mind that there were about 13 to 14 planes and he had to make sure they all took off in a matter of three to four minutes.”

This is the 11th book Gaffney High history classes have done on county veterans since the project started in 2002. The project resulted from a conversation then-principal and current superintendent Dr. Quincie Moore had with her father, Johnny, and Korean War Veteran Boyd McLean.

Previous editions featured student interviews with World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans.

“We want to thank our veterans for their service to our country,” Gaffney High history teacher George Duncan said. “The men and women who have fought for our freedom and sacrificed so much have important and interesting stories to tell. The purpose of this book is to connect two generations and to bring history to life.”

Duncan said the school plans to interview additional veterans in Cherokee County on a yearly basis so their military service will not be forgotten by future generations. He said next year’s book will focus on veterans who served during the Cold War from 1949-1989.

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