Honoring a Hero

Published 11:40 pm Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dawson-Bryant teacher gives presentation in memory of local veteran

The staff and students at Dawson-Bryant schools and the community of Coal Grove celebrated the life of a veteran who touched their lives in many ways.

Herbert Harding Clark spoke at Dawson-Bryant High School for decades, often twice a year, to history classes, sharing his experiences from World War II in ways that made it so much more real than is possible from just reading about it. But Clark died May 5 of this year at 89 years old.

Kimberly Ritchie, history teacher and intervention specialist, paid a tribute to him Wednesday during part of a Veterans Day ceremony.

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“I did a presentation for the middle school and high school and the kids were wonderful,” Ritchie said. “He would have been so pleased.”

Ritchie said the ceremony set out to do what she had intended for it to do.

“I wanted the kids to feel,” she said. “It’s one thing to get up there and talk. One kid said, ‘You made us cry Miss Ritchie.’ I said ‘“Good. I wanted you to cry and feel something.’ Herb helped save the world and he was very proud of it.”

Ritchie said the students would look forward to the times when Clark could speak to the class. Clark served in U.S. Army in the 101st Airborne Company B during the Normandy Invasion, as a paratrooper.

He would share stories with the students about falling out of a plane on D-Day at night with Germans shooting, and about his toes becoming frostbitten during the time of the Battle of the Bulge, and then healing and going back out there three days later, and about going into the concentration camps in Germany and the horror he saw there.

Clark is greatly missed by the students and staff at Dawson-Bryant High School.

“I loved Herb, and to hear his story and ask him questions,” she said. “I loved it all.”