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

Donation celebrated by Second Harvest, but volunteers are still needed

Local News

Grand Avenue Gym: DeQuincy landmark fading fast, group fighting to save it says

Local News

Beryl becomes major hurricane forecast to bring life-threatening conditions to Caribbean

life

Fourth of July festivities in Jennings will kick off with Stars and Stripes Festival

Local News

Ceremony held at Fort Johnson for deploying troops

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Don’t expect new candidates

life

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

life

USAF Band of the West making Lake Charles stop

high-school Sports

Upgrades planned for Jerry Simmons football stadium in Jennings

Crime

Lafayette teen charged in Ernest Street fatal shooting

Crime

6/28: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Longhorns make quite a statement to the SEC

Local News

Bicyclist fatally struck after allegedly running stop sign

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Stitch Guillory sworn in as sheriff

Local News

Sheriff Guillory: ‘I am living MLK’s dream’

Local News

Supreme Court allows cities to enforce bans on homeless people sleeping outside

Local News

Work begins on new artificial reef off Cameron coast to provide habitat

Local News

Trump, Biden square off for the first time in the 2024 election season

Business

One step closer for Calcasieu Pass LNG project

Local News

Landry uses line-item veto against local organization

life

Lance Burton & Friends: Get ready for a magical experience

Crime

6/27: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Zydeco in the Lake set to make a splash on Saturday

Local News

Supreme Court allows emergency abortions in Idaho for now in a limited ruling