Students at The Dalles Middle School listened quietly when Iraq veteran Aaron Carter, a Corporal with the U.S. Army, 4th Infantry (ret.), who is now manager of Columbia Gorge Toyota/Honda in The Dalles, spoke of his military service in Iraq.
“The discipline I learned in the military is something difficult to describe,” he said. “My service in the army made me what I am today. During my year in Iraq, I had some pretty tough times, and some pretty good times. But I wouldn’t trade any of it away.”
He was involved in the capture of Suddam Hussein and others, but said little of his time in active duty.
He did speak of coming home again. “I got a hero’s welcome when I came back from Iraq,” he said. “That hasn’t been the case for a lot of the veterans gathered here today.” He said when his unit arrived at the airport after their deployment, they were met by veterans of the Vietnam war, who handed them their cell phones. “That was the first opportunity I had to call my wife,” he said. His appreciation of those Vietnam veterans, many who were reviled and condemned when they returned from service in Vietnam, meant more than he could explain, he said.
“My service helped me understand those who went before me,” Carter said. “I thank every veteran that is here today more than I can express. All of you, every one of you.”
The salute to veterans was well attended, with many students participating in the event. TDMS boy scouts Evan Despain, Logan Baumgarten and Jordan Ingebo presented the colors; the combined choirs of TDMS and TDHS performed The Star Spangled Banner; the combined TDMS band and TDHS concert band performed a medley of the marches of the armed forces; Paul Beasley spoke of the meaning of the Remembrance Poppy; TDMS ASB treasurer Hannah Leos recited the poem “In Flanders Fields”; and the event concluded with the bugle call “Taps,” performed by Brayden Parker, Aiden Johnson, Jack McAllister and Gabriel Castillo-Quintana.
The scouts then retired the colors, and attending veterans were invited to the commons for refreshments and an opportunity to speak with students.