One wall many faces


Molly Hauser

This is the wall of Fallen Soldiers consisting of six photos of soldiers from World War II. It is located in the front entrance of the high school between the doors.

Molly Hauser, Staff Writer

The wall of fallen soldiers is a wall in the front entrance of the high school, it was first started by some students in current Associate Principal Jerry Stratton’s history class in 2001.

The wall has pictures and names for those who have graduated from Johnston and then fought and died in World War II and any war after. It has nine names, six having died in WWII, one from Vietnam, one from the Korean War and one from Afghanistan.

Stratton was surprised by his students enthusiasm to research and write papers on Johnston alumni who had lost their lives in wars. He supported the idea and allowed the students to continue. The students then began the project they had agreed on.

After completing their papers, the students wanted to show more than just Stratton what they had done. They looked into reading their papers to the families of the soldiers they wrote about. They wanted to honor and talk about what each individual had done as a student and soldier.

The program, which was supported by the Johnston Historical Society, honoring the soldiers was held in the old gym. It was just for the families of the dead soldiers that students had researched.

Ferne Michael, a Johnston Historical Society member and Johnston alumni, was one of the helpers for the event. Micheal had been more than happy to help with the event.

Afterwards Michael was checking over the photos she had collected and realized that she did not have all of the photos of soldiers listed on the itinerary. After contacting families and collecting the photos Michael missed, she posted only the photos, not the students papers, up in the school and they are still here today.

The wall seems to not have deterred junior Cali Prentice and senior Megan McMartin who are both thinking about military service. “I wouldn’t be affected by that, you see that in a lot of different areas,” McMartin said. “There’s a ton of death going into this.”

Military service, as explained by McMartin, is either active, which is like a full time job, or reserve, which is like a part time job. The soldier gets a choice of which they want and can change their decision. McMartin is planning on being on reserve service while Prentice has other plans.

Prentice brought up her intention to be a medical officer on active service after college, she would be on reserve until then. She knows what risks this will entail, as medical officers have the highest mortality rate, and is still willing to take the chance. “I would be sent out right away,” Prentice said.

The wall has not been recently added onto since the death of Captain Daniel Whitten who fought in Afghanistan. “I would definitely be happy if the wall was added into the new high school,” Stratton said. The plans for the wall seem fuzzy and unsure at this time though.

Although unsure of what is to happen in the future and whether the plaques and pictures will be moved into the new high school, the wall is a little piece of Johnston high school history.