Honoring those who sacrificed

LaGrange High alumni, Junior ROTC pay tribute to veterans

LaGrange High School class of 1961 alumni, current school leadership and the Junior ROTC honored its Vietnam War veterans during a ceremony at the school Thursday.

Michael Tritico, class of 1961 alumnus, coordinated the ceremony. He said the idea came to him after his classmate, the late Tommy Sims, revealed he never received a “thank you” upon returning home from the war.

“I said, ‘Tommy, I heard of that happening in California, but not here.’ He said, ‘Yeah, nobody here told me thank you. Nobody anywhere told me thank you.’ I said, ‘Tommy, I’m telling you right here, Thank you,’ ” Tritico recounted.

Darryl Fontenot said he enlisted in the Army, but many in the class were drafted as the war intensified over time.

“Army, Navy, Marines — a lot just went in because of the patriotism,” he said. “It was the patriotic thing to do, and my unit got called up to Vietnam.”

Tritico said those who fought in the war made a huge sacrifice.

“Because they went, a bunch of us didn’t,” he said. “Fortunately, all of our guys came back alive. Lake Charles High lost several of the class of ‘61.”

Fontenot said he was proud to see LaGrange’s Junior ROTC program alive and well.

“In the ROTC program, a young person can learn about the country, government (and) patriotism,” he said. “At the same time, they learn discipline, and that’s very important. Whether or not they make the military a career or not, they start developing skill sets.”

JROTC instructor Ernest Turner, CW04, said veteran sacrifice is a major part of the course’s curriculum.

“I make sure these young people know exactly what your sacrifice means,” he said. “They’re going to represent the future like you represent the past.”

Samuel Baynes, LaGrange principal, guided alumni on a brief tour of the campus. Guests shared memories of the past, including the Sputnik satellite launch, former principal John Mims and championships in basketball, football and track.

“This was a special group, and it kind of set the tone for LaGrange,” Baynes said while pointing to Mims’ portrait.

A plaque recognizing the Vietnam War veterans will hang in the school’s lobby.””

Lagrange principal Samuel Baynes presents the ROTC with a plaque during a ceremony at the school in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman””

Chief Marion Hamilton speaks at Lagrange High School in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman””

At Lagrange High School in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman

SportsPlus

McNeese Sports

Davey earns first preseason honor

Local News

High insurance premiums affect home-buying decisions

Business

Jeff Davis getting two new economic districts

Local News

UPDATE: Motive of man who tried to assassinate Trump remains elusive

Local News

Federal judge dismisses Trump classified documents case over concerns with prosecutor’s appointment

McNeese Sports

Former Cowboy MacIntyre wins again

Local News

UPDATE: Man killed at Trump rally ‘died a hero’

Local News

UPDATE: Fire chief who died at Trump rally used his body to shield others

Local News

UPDATE: Trump calls for unity after assassination attempt

Local News

Iowa Mayor Neal Watkins speaks about effort to oust him from office

Business

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local News

UPDATE: Trump says bullet pierced right ear

Local News

UPDATE: Shooting at Trump rally being investigated as assassination attempt

Local News

UPDATE: Trump ‘fine’ after being whisked off stage

Local News

Trump rushed off stage by Secret Service as bangs heard at Pennsylvania rally

Local News

Unrestrained driver, passenger killed in Beauregard crash

Local News

School Board gives Van Metre four-year contract

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Traffic cameras are targeted

Crime

UPDATE: Victim identified in Sulphur officer-involved shooting

Local News

Area medical facilities have treated dozens for heat-related illnesses

McNeese Sports

SLC releases basketball schedules

life

SW La. nightlife calendar: There’s always something to do

life

Calcasieu SerialFest flying high with tribute to superheroes

Crime

7/12: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list