Stonington High unveils tributes to its graduates killed in war

Stonington Superintendent of Schools Van Riley, Stonington High School Principal Mark Friese, retired Stonington police Chief David Erskine, Stonington Historical Society Executive Director Liz Wood and Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons pose Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in front of the new Wall of Honor at Stonington High School. (Joe Wojtas/The Day)
Stonington Superintendent of Schools Van Riley, Stonington High School Principal Mark Friese, retired Stonington police Chief David Erskine, Stonington Historical Society Executive Director Liz Wood and Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons pose Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in front of the new Wall of Honor at Stonington High School. (Joe Wojtas/The Day)

Stonington — School and town officials on Wednesday unveiled a plaque and flag at Stonington High School that honor the school’s graduates killed in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War.

The Stonington High School Wall of Honor features a plaque in the school lobby that lists the names of the 28 graduates killed in action. The plaque is bookended by a field of 28 gold stars, one for each graduate killed.

A white banner with 28 gold stars hangs in the school auditorium, where a similar one did more than 60 years ago. The Stonington Historical Society donated the banner to the school.

The unveiling of both took place just a few minutes before the school held its annual dinner for veterans.

The plaque and flag are the result of work done by retired police Chief and historian David Erskine, who last spring learned of a banner honoring grads who died at war that once hung in the auditorium and brought it to the attention of high school Principal Mark Friese, a Navy veteran. The banner had been removed during renovations at some point and was lost. That led Erskine, who recently completed research on all residents killed in the three wars, to work on the names for the plaque.

Friese told a small group gathered in the school lobby Wednesday that the school always tries to stress with current students the legacy that they are perpetuating and that leads to recognizing graduates who have died in war.

“Kids can now come in every day and see the people who have come before them that gave their all,” Friese said.

“Some people gave some, very few people gave all,” said Friese paraphrasing the wording on the plaque.

First Selectman Rob Simmons, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, said the one commitment veterans have made is to never forget those who served.

“If not for them, all of this would be lost,” he said.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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