Photo: Clint Romesha, a Medal of Honor recepient, will speak at Belmont High School.
The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest military honor, awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. The actions by the soldiers, sailors and airmen to earn this award is heroic in every possible way.
Of the approximately 3,670 military personnel whom the medal has been bestowed since the Civil War, only about 79 are living today.
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, three men who were awarded this highest military honor – Tom Norris, a Navy SEAL who fought in Vietnam, Clint Romesha, a soldier from the Afghan War and Donald Ballard, a Navy Corpsman from the Vietnam War – will speak to mostly sophomores at Belmont High School about themselves and the courage, commitment and sacrifice they demonstrated.
“This is a really rare and unusual experience for our students and we are honored to have been selected,” said Deb McDevitt, the Belmont Public School’s social studies director and teacher at the High School.
The honorees will arrive by helicopter around 8:45 a.m. and speak to the students from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., McDevitt told the Belmontonian.
As part of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Conference being held this month in Boston, the society conducts outreach programs at area schools “to share their stories with students and educate the public with all the things they are able to do and lessons they learned,” said McDevitt.
The society connected with Belmont High School through an alumnus who is one of the 79 living recipients. Robert Foley (graduate ’59), who was awarded his medal for actions during his service in the Vietnam conflict, is unable to attend the conference but suggested his alma mater as one of the schools on the speakers list.
“They contacted me to see if we would be willing to host and welcome these speakers and I immediately said ‘Of course!'” said McDevitt. “It was no question that we would do this.”
The sophomore class was selected to hear from the men as the talk dovetails with the curriculum 10th graders are studying in General American History.
“One of the essential questions we focus our whole year around is what’s America’s place in the world,” said McDevitt.
“When they hear these stories at the beginning of the year, students are going to have a much richer understanding of the wars the nation fought and the relationships and alliances we’ve had with other countries. This will ground their studies with real-life meaning for all the work they’ll be doing for the rest of the year,” McDevitt said.