Vietnam POW remembered by students

May 25, 2009 3:18:09 PM PDT
In the spirit of Memorial Day observances, last week there was a tribute to a fallen hero from the Vietnam era, and it was timed so students at the Delaware Valley Elementary School in Milford, Pennsylvania could participate. A school assembly featured poetry readings and a slide show on the life of a local hero, Edwin "Jack" Pearce. He was an air force gunnery sergeant in the Vietnam War. A plane carrying Pearce and others was shot down in 1972.

In the mid 1980s, as part of a national program to honor those missing in action, students in Milford "adopted" Jack Pearce.

"It was the right thing to be doing," former principal Sonya Cole said. "It was a thing that we needed to get our children involved with."

For more than 20 years, a photograph of Jack Pearce has been on display in a school hallway. Educators said his likeness there all these years is what led up to the special ceremony. There have been a lot of conversations around the school about what kids refer to as "the man on the wall."

"They joke with me about 'the man on the wall,' but they all can tell me who he is and what he represents and it's a topic of conversation every day," current principal Kimberly Butaitis said.

Many of the students even wrote poems or letters about Pearce.

"It's all part of allowing children to grow and become citizens of the world and express themselves, and the all have something to say," said Sharon Siegel, an assistant at the school.

Finally last year, Pearce's remains were found and accepted from the military by his family. A small funeral and burial were held.

In addition to inviting Vietnam veterans to the school's ceremony, Pearce's mother and other family members were guests of honor.

"I think it's wonderful," mother Rosemary Pearce said. "I'm glad. I'm glad that the kids are knowing that Americanism is still alive."

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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