Aidan Bush, Staff Writer – To honor Veterans Day, Lecanto High School [LHS] strove to recognize individuals who have served in the United States military. Marine Corps veteran Richard Allen attended English teacher Jong Ash’s classes November 6 and 7 to raise student awareness of the sacrifices made by soldiers.
Allen served in the Marine Corps for about 13 months as an aircraft electrician during the Vietnam War. He worked in medical evacuation specifically, meaning he transported wounded and deceased soldiers and personnel to the appropriate facilities. He also helped bring supplies to those in need.
When Allen was stationed, he was surprised to see how different Vietnam was from America.
“When I landed, I experienced culture shock. They lived in grass huts with no bathrooms or electricity,” Allen said.
Allen received the Purple Heart medal because of an injury caused by a nearby explosion during his service.
He made it clear that he was lucky that he had not sustained more permanent injuries, unlike some of the other people with him at the time.
“I was one of the fortunate ones,” Allen said.
After completing his service, Allen worked as an embalmer for 40 years. He is now a commander for the Citrus County chapter of Purple Heart.
Allen believes Citrus County holds a high respect for veterans.
“This is the most veteran supported community that I have seen in the country,” Allen said.
The students of LHS enjoyed having Allen speak to them.
“The presentation made me more knowledgeable about experiences soldiers endured during the Vietnam War and wars in general,” said sophomore Brian Torcuator.
It also gave many of the students a new perspective on war.
“I already knew some of the information, but it really reopened my eyes to know that the casualties of the two most deadly wars combined was more than a million deaths in total,” said freshman Alexa Harvey.
Allen’s presentation even made some people consider going into the military.
“I’m going into a different profession in the future, but if there comes need for me to enlist, yeah I’ll consider doing it. If someone wants to protect me, what stops me from doing the same for other people too,” said freshman Austin Recta.
Veterans Day is a time to remember the sacrifices of military personnel. Allen helped to promote this cause for LHS students.