PI Original Aricka Flowers Friday May 27th, 2011, 8:30pm

Remembering Those Who Served Our Country (VIDEO)

This is a story about a dedicated high school principal who kept notes on the fate of his former students as they went off to fight—and many died—during World War II. But it is more than a final farewell to his students.

This is a story about a dedicated high school principal who kept notes on the fate of his former students as they went off to fight—and many died—during World War II. But it is more than a final farewell to his students.

Today, it brings into sharp focus why we celebrate this Memorial Day holiday and reminds us of a time when White soldiers went off to one section of the military and African-Americans (and other minorities) often went to another. More than anything, it is a story of a hard-pressed community that is trying to find the resources necessary to formally mark the sacrifices of 16 of their 34 so-called “Gold Star Boys of East High School” who died serving their country.

We at Progress Illinois thank the Rockford Register Star for bringing this lovely story to light. It all began with a high school vice principal who stumbled across some faded and forgotten documents a few years ago as he cleaned out a book case -- days before his planned retirement date. On Thursday, the school held a ceremony to honor these former students and a community paused to reflect on how to honor them for future generations.

Here's a look at their story:

And here's more detailed info about the "Gold Star Boys of East High School."

As you enjoy your long holiday weekend, be sure to take a moment remember the "Gold Star Boys of East HIgh School" -- and the rest of the nation's fallen, retired and current soldiers. Without them, who knows where we'd be as a nation.

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