L&N STEM Academy students listen to Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bruce Crandall Monday
Col. Bruce Crandall earned his Medal of Honor fighting in the Vietnam War
Students at the Knox County L&N STEM Academy met living history Monday, when a Medal of Honor recipient visited their classroom. Nationwide, there are only a handful of recipients still living, and Colonel Bruce Crandall is one of them.
The students recently completed a project about East Tennessee veterans awarded the Medal of Honor. They each profiled a local military member who has received the country's highest medal for valor.
Col. Crandall isn't from Tennessee, but he visited to discuss the new Medal of Honor Character Development Program, which seeks to incorporate the ideals of courage and selfless service into the middle and high school curriculum.
"We don't want our legacy to be combat, or the activities we did in war," Col. Crandall said. "We want... to get across to them that they would have done the same things, but they need to do those things in their life now."
STEM Sophomore Carly Johnson listened closely while he spoke. She wanted to learn more about different wars in which U.S. soldiers fought.
"I don't know anything about that time period except for what I've read in textbooks," she said about the Vietnam War, where Col. Crandall earned his Medal of Honor.
The veteran explained, each generation faces its challenges. He told the students they, too, would go through difficult times in life. It is up to them to handle it with bravery.
"You've got to face whatever it is, with reality, and do something about it!" he exclaimed.
It's both a history and life lesson Johnson believes will stick.
"They are just like you and me, they have families, they have their own stories," she said about Medal of Honor recipients. "And they just happen to be in a situation they did something amazing in."
Now Col. Crandall says, it's time for her generation to have their turn in shaping the world.
"We were average, and they're going to face decision making in their time," he said.
Adding, with a knowing smile, "And they'll do alright with it."
Watch John Becker's Service and Sacrifice story about Col. Crandall Thursday, on 10News at 5 p.m.