By Marianne Scott
---- — In the spring of 1966 a young man by the name of William Harter graduated from Mays High School. After graduation, William joined the Armed Services and was sent to Vietnam. While in Vietnam his parents, younger brother and sister moved to Franklin.
As was the fate of many young men during the Vietnam War, William was killed on Feb. 12, 1968.Shortly thereafter, the Class of 1966 purchased a plaque in remembrance of William Harter. It hung at the Mays High School for many years.
During this same time period, Steve Brooks (husband of kindergarten teacher, Lois Brooks) also attended Mays High School. When he heard about his friend William losing his life in Vietnam, Steve decided to join the Army and was also sent to Vietnam. Unlike his friend, he returned safely home.
Now move up to the summer of 2013 and we meet up with Isaac Harter. “Isaac (William's brother) came to Mays Elementary School and asked if he could walk through the halls of his old school. While looking through the trophy case he found the plaque which had been dedicated to his brother's memory. Isaac was visibly moved, for he and his family did not know that the Class of 1966 had honored his brother in this way,” cited Nancy Schroeder (Mays Elementary School Principal).
He called family members to convey what he had found all these years later. Their gratitude helps all of us remember that it is never too late to thank a veteran’s family for the ultimate sacrifice.
This year at the Mays Veterans Day Program on Nov. 11, Steve Brooks shared his story. And now some 45 years later the plaque honoring William Harter was presented to his family.
“I knew William as a classmate and friend. Our classes were small at Mays so everyone knew each other. He was a couple years ahead of me and went to Vietnam in August 1967. He was there during the Tet Offensive. I remember attending his funeral and the impact that event had on my life. He was so young. I suppose questions will always remain like what kind of person he would have been had he returned home,” Brooks said.
To the family of William Harter we express our appreciation. Laurence Binyon’s words from 1914 are ageless as we remember all Veterans on this special day:
“They shall grow not old, as we that
are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the
At the going down of the sun and in
We will remember them.”