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

Local News

Sowela photography students open exhibit at LC City Hall

Crime

7/11: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Crime

BREAKING: Charges upgraded against mother of dead boy, recovered toddler

Crime

Trucker driver who found missing 1-year-old: ‘I told him, “It’s gonna be all right, little man,” ‘

McNeese Sports

McNeese signs $2.5M deal with Memorial Health

Business

BUSINESS UPDATE: Albertsons on Country Club in danger of closing

Local News

Houston utility says 500K customers still won’t have electricity next week as Beryl outages persist

Local News

Iowa mayor makes motion to adjourn in middle of council meeting

Local News

GOP moves to alter abortion position: At Trump’s behest, RNC votes to no longer call for national ban

life

Nonprofit converts empty, historic north LC house for new homeownership

Local News

Newly named Superintendent VanMetre: ‘It’s all about people, all the time’

Business

PHOTO GALLERY: Capital One Tower skybridge now a pile of rubble

Crime

Driver sought in Pujol Road hit-and-run

Local News

Kennedy, Cassidy announce $2.1M in hurricane aid for Diocese of LC

Crime

7/10: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

House GOP wants proof of citizenship to vote, boosting an election-year talking point

Local News

What cognitive tests can show — and what they can’t

Business

VIDEO: Capital One Tower skybridge gone

Local News

McNeese Athletic Foundation under new management

News

McNeese opener moved to ESPN2

Local News

Southwest Louisiana 50-year master plan a winner

Local News

DeRidder City Council vote for president ends in a tie

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Landry reshaping Supreme Court

Local News

BREAKING: VanMetre named next superintendent