Saturday, July 31, 2010

Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif., Endures Loss of Seven Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Most From Any School in California

I'll be in Clovis at the end of August to attend my father-in-law's 70th birthday gathering. I called him this morning to give him the heads up on today's front-page story at the Los Angeles Times, "Wars Take a Heavy Toll on One California School." He thanked me, although Clovis is a small town, and he was well familiar with the losses:
The seventh funeral was Friday. The church was full, even strangers lined the streets and everyone in sight stopped what they were doing and bowed their heads as Brian Piercy's body moved from church to cemetery — the same as they had done for six others.

Seven boys from Clovis' Buchanan High Shool have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With Piercy's death, Buchanan has the somber distinction of more war dead than any other school in California.

There's no sure answer as to how such a thing could happen. But many people in this Central Valley city have a theory. They say Clovis is an extraordinarily patriotic community and its children are raised on God and country, duty and honor. They're willing to serve and willing to die, the same as Clovis' generations who went before them.

Buchanan's school colors are red, white and blue. The stadium is named Veteran's Memorial. Former classmates and older siblings come back in uniform for campus visits. Friday night football games include a moment of silence for Buchanan's fallen soldiers.

"The cheerleaders wear six stars on their uniforms. I guess it will be seven now," said 15-year-old Julie Thaxter. "We're not proud they died, but we're proud they fought. It makes others from here even more ready to go and honor them. My brother wants to join. He's 14 and he's been set on it since he was 8."

Also, "
California’s War Dead" (for Buchanan High).