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Tulsa's Central High School Honors Its War Dead

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Central High School honored its war dead at a special Veterans Day ceremony. Central High School honored its war dead at a special Veterans Day ceremony.
Joe Durham is back at Central High school to honor his brother. Joe Durham is back at Central High school to honor his brother.
Though other sacrifices were noted, there was no memorial to those who died in Vietnam and Korea. Though other sacrifices were noted, there was no memorial to those who died in Vietnam and Korea.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor all veterans, living and dead. So it's the perfect time to honor 28 graduates of Tulsa's Central High School who died in Vietnam.

The Vietnam War ended 40 years ago, but there's no statute of limitations on remembering.

Joe Durham is back at Central High school to honor his brother. In fact, so are several other people: veterans, guests and students. They're honoring the Central High grads who died in Vietnam.

Joe Durham's brother Dwight was one of them.

"He was a gung ho kid; 17 years old and gung ho to serve his country," said Joe Durham. "He wanted to be Army Airborne."

Now, none of this would have happened were it not for one simple question.

"I asked why we didn't have a plaque for Vietnam or Korea," said Claire Johnson. Johnson is the drama teacher at Central. Her classroom is in the hallway near several historical pieces.

There's a plaque that lists graduates lost in World War I, and World War II, and one graduate who died in Afghanistan - but nothing in between. The Central High Foundation found the beginnings of a Vietnam plaque.

"The names had been engraved, and a small dedication plaque to be affixed to the top," Johnson said.

So Claire Johnson and the Foundation set about getting it finished. A piece of black granite was donated and so was the work to complete it.

There are 28 Central High School graduates who gave their lives in Vietnam.

"The first one was killed in 1966; the last one was killed in 1972," said Central High School teacher Claire Johnson.

We all are stewards of those who've gone before, and now these 28 graduates of Central High School have been honored as they should be.

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