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Veterans Day assembly at Tehachapi High School


Richard Oldenburg and Del Troy take a moment for photos after the assembly.

With many happy hoots and hollers, Tehachapi High School students enthusiastically welcomed local veterans to campus Thursday, Nov. 9.

Student-crafted art and decorations covered the THS gym for the school's 10th annual veterans Day Assembly. After refreshments in their honor, local veterans entered the gym to a standing ovation and loud applause from students and staff.

Judging by the smiles on the faces of both students and their invited guests, this is an event that means a lot to all involved.

"This is one of the students favorite assemblies," said Amy Walkins, THS activity director. "Our kids are really patriotic. It's nice to see their reaction to all the men and women who served their country."

The cheering continued as Principal Scott Heitman introduced all the guests in attendance. Tehachapi's veterans served in a variety of ranks and branches of the military. Two men in particular, however, inspired some long applause. The first, "Bomber" Bob Wood, survived 35 missions in Nazi Germany. John Greneker survived the shores of Normandy.

Del Troy, a founding member of the Tehachapi Heritage League received a special national WWII community peace medal for her commitment to the community and preservation of local history. In 1945, Troy took a civilian job with the Navy Department in Stockton.

"This was wonderful and I never expected anything like this," she said. "The boys and girls here did such a fantastic job to make the veterans feel appreciated."

Several veterans in attendance continue their service as members of The Patriot Guard Riders, providing escorts during military funerals, as well as escorts for servicemen and women leaving for duty and for their welcome home. Jim Jacobs, one of the guard riders, said he hadn't made his mind up about military service, but a draft letter he received back in 1972 from Richard Nixon gave him his answer.

"It was an honor to serve and it's an honor to see the enthusiasm and patriotism as we walked through these doors today," he said.

"Bomber" Bob Wood, who served 35 missions in Germany during WWII, enjoyed greeting the students at the end of the Veterans Day Assembly at THS.

The assembly continued with speeches from Captain Ed Sullivan and Captain Donald Thiesse, who expressed a common theme of respect and paying attention to the ways we can all support and help our country and each other.

"I think this is one of the best assemblies because it's not for the school, it's for the people who served our country," said ASB President Madison O'Brien. "They don't always like to be recognized but we're going to do it anyway. They are very humble."

Before a slideshow in honor of the veterans, Richard Oldenburg played a slow rendition of "TAPS," a song he's been playing for 74 years. Every night at sunset, Oldenburg plays "Retreat," the military signal for end of day, off his deck in Bear Valley.

"The response from THS is always outstanding," he said. "The response from this whole city is outstanding."


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