WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – One teacher got a special surprise Monday at Copper Hills High School.
Lorna Murray teaches her classes about the importance of World War I and World War II and what it means to our country.
“To hear their stories, to hear them, what they have done for all of us. What they have done for our freedoms, you know, freedom isn’t free. It is bought and paid for using blood and tears,” said Murray.
Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm went to say ‘thank you’ for making sure the youth of the nation does not forget our history.
“I love veterans and it’s emotional for me because I am so aware of what veterans have done for us, all of us,” said Murray. “Without them we wouldn’t have a country.”
The subject is close to Murray’s heart because her father was a veteran and a prisoner of war during World War II.
On Monday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars honored her for her hard work and named her Utah’s Teacher of the Year.
“This is a great honor and I’m very humbled by this,” she added.
One of the reasons why the veterans picked Mrs. Murray was because she allows them to come into her classroom and share real-life experiences from WWII like Ewald Kuefner who grew up in Berlin during the war.
“I remember all of the tanks and the German artillery and the lights that go up in the skies and it was, we were scared of a lot of different things,” Ewald Kuefner, the Commander of VFW Post 12087.
Kuefner’s father was captured during the war.
“He spent four years in Siberia, in a concentration camp but he was lucky and came home,” said Kuefner.
He would soon move to the United States in 1953 before being drafted for the Korean War.
“She had made that possible for me to show the kids what I had gathered together,” he said. “Her class was very well educated but they hadn’t seen some of the things that I had.”
One person that Murray wanted her class to learn about was 92-year-old and WWII Marine John Delliskave.
“This man he is a World War II veteran. He fought on Iwo Jima. He was there. He did the job,” Murray told her class.
“World War II they were playing for keeps,” said Delliskave. “They should know what we went through.”
“In my opinion and a lot of other veterans opinions, if it hadn’t been for that generation we might be speaking German or Japanese at this time,” said Michael T. Stiebing the Commander VFW “And we need to let this generation know freedom isn’t free. That this generation saved this country.”
Murray adds, “We are who they are. We have inherited their abilities and sometimes we don’t realized that. Sometimes we don’t tap into what they gave us, what they gave us genetically but also what they also gave us politically. We don’t always understand that. And it’s my job to teach them that.”
If Mrs. Murray wins the VFW National Competition for Teacher of the Year, she will be flown to Charlotte, North Carolina for the VFW’s National Convention in July.