Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams speaks at Huntington Middle School

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – With Veterans Day just around the corner, some teachers in our area wanted their students to get a one-on-one session with a real war hero.

Retired Marine Corp Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams set out to inspire the entire sixth grade class at Huntington Middle School Wednesday.

“Thank you for the warm welcome,” Williams said to a clapping audience of middle schoolers.

For nearly an hour-and-a-half, Williams had a conversation with children, many of them with parents who were even alive when Williams fought on the bloody sands of Iwo Jima in World War II. But that wasn’t what his conversation with them was about.

Instead of war stories, Williams says he wanted to talk to the students about things like making their bed and doing things that honor their name.

“I’d like to see a show of hands of everybody who made their bed this morning,” Williams told the students.

He talked to them about respect, not only for the freedoms they have, but also the respect they should have for each other.

“The only place I know of, in my limited knowledge, that that can be accomplished, is through our school systems,” Williams said.

Mason Dewgaey says he looked forward to the visit. He says his dad is in the Army so he knows a little bit about respect and discipline. He says he’s going to remember what Williams taught them.

“I feel like he wants us to remember who we are and how we live,” Mason said.

And to remember that at a time when we remember the veterans who died in America’s wars, is also a time to look forward.

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