Purple heart veteran Richard Allen speaks with LHS students about his military service

Madeline Wyka, Staff Writer – In honor of Veteran’s Day, Lecanto High School [LHS] was privileged to receive a visit from local veteran Richard “Bud” Allen. The Marine Corps veteran paid a visit to English teacher Jong Ash’s classes November 8 and 9 to bring awareness through his presentation of the many sacrifices made by United States soldiers throughout the ages.

"Bud" Allen shares a slide show while the students attentively watch and listen. (Photo: Jong Ash)

“Bud” Allen shares a slide show while the students attentively watch and listen. (Photo: Jong Ash)

Allen spent several years of his life serving in the Marine Corps, specifically as an aircraft electrician, during the Vietnam War. Allen particularly worked in medical evacuation and resupplying, which meant he spent quite a bit of time transporting the wounded or deceased bodies to safer grounds, as well as bringing supplies to those in need.

Upon his arrival in Vietnam, Allen was in complete shock at the contrast from the familiar American culture.

“I felt I had stepped back two generations,” said Allen. “I had no idea these people would be living with no water, no electricity, barely anything.”

Regardless of the extreme conditions, Allen made it clear that he was grateful for his experience of service and have no regrets.

“Did I always make the best decisions? Of course not. That could be said about anybody. But it is what it is, and I still wouldn’t change a thing,” said Allen.

In regards to the Veteran’s Day holiday, Allen feels quite strongly that every single soldier deserves some form of thanks and respect.

“So many people died for you to have such privilege,” said Allen. “Right this very second, you have the ability in this country [the United States] to be what you want to be, to do what you want to do within limits, of course, to say what you want to say, and many places don’t have that freedom. The least you can do is be respectful to the country that’s been there for you.”

After his service, Allen worked as a funeral director for 40 years and currently holds the position of commander for the Citrus County division of Purple Heart.

The time that Allen spent to speak in front of over one hundred and fifty students over the past two days was greatly appreciated.

“It really gave me a new respect for veterans, as the stories they have and share really show how much our troops risk to protect the freedoms of the American people,” said sophomore, Aidan Bush.

Some students found this as an eye-opening experience, as Allen shared unimaginable stories that the average person would never think of in the United States.

“The [soldiers] sacrifice their lives and endure unthinkable conditions for us to have many privileges in this country,” said Junior, Brian Torcuator.

Veteran’s Day is a day with great significance, and should not only be used to honor those who served in the past, but those who continue to serve and sacrifice to this day. Allen’s visit helped further advocate this through his generous visit to LHS.