AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – As Western Massachusetts approaches the annual Veterans Day observance, Agawam middle school students received a lesson in living history.
Eighty-nine year old retired U.S. Marine Corporal Donald Dorrington of Cummigton came to speak with students at the Roberta Doering School on Thursday. The World War II veteran told sixth graders of his combat experiences. Corporal Dorrington has vivid memories of the legendary battle for the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima during the war in the Pacific.
Dorrington told 22News that he shares his wartime memories as a mentor.
“I think they should learn respect; respect for their parents, their teachers, people in general. If they could have that, it’ll make a big difference in them,” he said.
Before his visit Thursday, many of these children knew little of World War II, and even less of the bloodshed on Iwo Jima. Sixth grader Michael Winer told 22News what a significant impact Corporal Dorrington’s talk had on him.
“A lot of people sacrificed their lives for our country, I’m very grateful that I would not be standing here If they didn’t do that for my country,” Winer said.
This was fifth year the Agawam middle school students have benefited from these veteran’s visits. In all, fifty veterans shared experiences; men and women who served their country from World War II to the recent conflicts in the Middle East.