Rick Burns remembers his big brother Darrell as an athlete and popular guy at Everett’s Cascade High School.
“He had tons of friends,” said Burns, 57, recalling the family’s Casino Road home as “kind of the hangout.”
“He was into sports, and was pretty good,” Burns said Monday. “He played football and baseball.”
Army Sgt. Darrell E. Burns died June 23, 1970, after being wounded in Cambodia.
“In June it will be 41 years ago. That doesn’t even seem possible,” said Burns, who now lives in the Clearview area. He is grateful that his brother and five others who died during the Vietnam War are not forgotten at their alma mater.
Cascade students in U.S. history teacher David Hastings’ honors classes are planning a Memorial Day ceremony to commemorate six Vietnam-era veterans who graduated from the school and later died in the conflict. All but one were in the Class of 1966, Hastings said. The event at 2 p.m. May 30 in Cascade’s cafeteria is open to the public. Veterans are especially welcome, Hastings added.
“It’s a very nice gesture, very cool. I’m looking forward to going to it,” said Burns, a Mariner High School graduate whose brother was three years older than he.
A plaque engraved with the men’s names will be installed at the school. Along with Darrell Burns, those being honored are: Army Spc. 4 Guy Allen Davison, Army Cpl. Stanley Lloyd Grunstad, Marine Pfc. William Scott Haralson, Army Warrant Officer David Clyde Lancaster, and Marine Pfc. Daniel James Minor.
Hastings, 58, also taught history at Everett High School. There, his Everett High honors history class took on the massive project of updating a war memorial. “We found people who had died in the Spanish-American War through the Vietnam conflict,” Hastings said. “We had a ceremony on Veterans Day 1999.”
He has taught six years at Cascade.
“I felt it should be done here, too,” he said. Cascade, which opened in 1963, appears to have lost only veterans from the Vietnam era, Hastings said.
All the work for the ceremony has been done by students, Hastings said. Committees were formed to research the veterans’ histories, find and invite loved ones, and plan the ceremony.
“We’ll have students do all the speaking, except for a veteran,” Hastings said.
Megan Taylor, a 17-year-old Cascade junior, heads the research committee. Members of her group used websites, including www.virtualwall.org, in their searches. Obituaries helped students locate family members.
When she called or emailed the men’s relatives, “a lot of them were really taken aback that anyone was doing this,” Taylor said. “They were happy somebody was honoring their family.”
Heidi McArthur, another Cascade junior, said she knew little about Vietnam until taking Hastings’ honors history class. “I never really knew how much a lot of people were against the war in Vietnam,” said McArthur, 17.
Most of those coming to the event are the veterans’ siblings, rather than their parents, Taylor said. Relatives are coming from Spokane and California, she said.
Hastings said today’s students are unlikely to have personal connections to the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, at least not in the way so many did during the Vietnam era. The military draft, anti-war protests of the 1960s and 1970s, and the sheer number of war dead together created a political atmosphere foreign to today’s students, he said. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall is now etched with the names of 58,267 people who died in Vietnam or after the war.
“I had friends go to Vietnam. I had a friend killed, and had a cousin go to Vietnam. It seems like yesterday,” Hastings said.
“Because of Vietnam, many people today opposed to the war in Iraq or Afghanistan go out of their way to say, ‘We support the troops completely.’ That was unheard of at that time. It’s now a completely different world,” the teacher said.
Families still grieve.
While planning the ceremony, Hastings has heard from an aunt and a sister of men killed in Vietnam.
“They still cry. This is 40 years later,” he said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
Cascade High School’s honors U.S. history classes plan a Memorial Day ceremony to honor six Cascade alumni killed during the Vietnam War. The event, open to the public, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. May 30 in the cafeteria at Cascade, 801 E. Casino Road, Everett. Veterans are encouraged to attend.
The following six men, all from Everett, will be honored and listed on a new plaque at the school:
•Army Sgt. Darrell E. Burns, Class of 1968, died June 23, 1970 (wounded in Cambodia).
Army Spc. 4 Guy Allen Davison, Class of 1966, died Aug. 25, 1968.
Army Cpl. Stanley Lloyd Grunstad, Class of 1966, died July 19, 1968.
Marine Pfc. William Scott Haralson, Class of 1966, died June 4, 1968.
Army Warrant Officer David Clyde Lancaster, Class of 1966, died March 21, 1971.
Marine Pfc. Daniel James Minor, Class of 1968, died Feb. 27, 1969.