The grim list of Davenport Central High School alumni who have died serving their country started with 26 names. But the one read Friday by Cadet Lt. Col. Roy Schindler had grown to 42.
Wanting to honor his grandfather, a World War II veteran, Schindler, a junior and member of the school’s Junior Army ROTC program, wanted to honor all of Central’s fallen and chose the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor to acknowledge them. He organized a program in the school’s auditorium recognizing the school’s fallen and other veterans.
Sgt. Nathan Cox, who graduated in 1994, is the most recent graduate on the list, which includes service members from World War II to the present. No World War I dead have been been located.
In researching, planning and preparing for Friday’s recognition, Schindler hadn’t had a chance to reflect on the list of names. As he read them, the moment struck him.
“It was a remembrance of all of them, and some I’ve known,” he said.
Along with the recitation of the names, the event featured patriotic songs and several speeches.
Cox’s mother, Jane Cox, teaches special education at Central. She was a 1967 classmate of Wayne Hubbard who is also on the list.
“You think of all the young people and all their hopes and all their dreams,” she said, touching her Gold Star pin, “but how else do we remain free?”
She visits her son’s grave at National Cemetery, Rock Island Arsenal, and knows where others from Davenport are laid to rest near her son, mentioning Jason Pautsch, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, and Katie Soenksen, who was killed in Iraq in 2007.
“I’m still honoring all those who are still serving,” Cox said. She hugged Schindler after the program and praised his effort.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Bradley Scott, who is stationed at the Arsenal, described those who served as “ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances fulfilling their mission with everything they have,” saying that the program means a lot to veterans and their families.
About a dozen veterans stood when they were recognized during the event, including Central principal Robert Scott.
Off to the side of the auditorium was a large display built by Ken and Debbie Rice of Davenport of Iowa’s fallen, recognizing the 81 Iowans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I loved it,” Debbie Rice said of the program. “I wish they could do it in every place and every school. It gets to you.”
Davenport Central High School alumni killed in action
Robert Austin Alexander
Alan R. Boone
Joseph L. Carney
Carl C. Clark
Jerry Prosper Clark
Lowell W. Crawford
Jerry W. Cutting
David K. Ditch
Gerald A. Faber
Lester H. Fisher
Carl R. Foster
Joseph L. Gomez
Michael D. Hahn
Wayne G. Hubbard
Edwin Thomas Janssen
William D. Johnston
James B. Laird
William E. Leamon
Carl J. Olson
Dick M. Paper
Frank J. Quinlan Jr.
Gary K. Rath
Joseph A. Schwerdtfeger
Martin H. Smith Jr.
Robert E. Spalding
John E. Swanson Jr.
John H. Wilson