Vets: War is hell

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With the war in Iraq on their minds, a group of patriotic St. Anselm School students honored four World War II veterans at the other day, but it was the graying soldiers who offered up the most important words: War is hell.

Teacher Cary Anne Fitzgerald said the March 8 assembly began with the best intentions: to honor the service of the “Greatest Generation” — especially given the students’ support for the troops in Iraq.

But the soldiers turned the event on its head, telling the students that war should be avoided at all costs.

“I just hope and pray that you kids don’t have to ever go to war,” said veteran Tom Lusnia. “No matter what you might believe, war is war, and war is nothing you want a piece of.”

Another vet, Bernie Hoganson, said he’d be happy if he never heard the word “war” again.

“Whenever anyone starts talking about war, I immediately feel negative about the whole thing,” he said.

Fellow comrades Martin O’Reilly and Fred Schwally participated in assembly, handing each student a “Certificate of Americanism.”

At least one student equated the certificate with a requirement to serve her country on the battlefield, despite the veteran’s words to the contrary.

“These veterans were brave guys,” said eighth-grader Sarah Allen. “I hope I would be able to do the same if the time comes.”

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