YAKIMA, Wash. - West Valley High School is honoring local men and women who served our country.
High school students and staff welcomed over 50 local veterans on Thursday
The men and women honored ranged in branches of service and ranks. Some were retired, some still active but all there to share their stories with students.
Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Edlin is a member of West Valley's JROTC program and said listening to veterans share their experience is a way to keep history alive.
"That means that the stories will keep being told," Edlin said. "They're gonna go home and tell them and there going to keep being told so it's nice to hear that because then their history isn't being lost."
Local veteran Lloyd Gabriel was in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II and was a prisoner of war.
"We were shot down and I was captured as a pow for 15 months," Gabriel said.
He said he turns 97 years old next month and is glad he can still share his story with young people so they can begin to understand the cost of freedom.
Edlin said this is the 40th year of the JROTC program at West Valley High School and these veterans are inspiring some students to serve their country.
"They're getting told stories from someone who actually went into it perspective and that's changing their mind," he said.
Gabriel said it's important to honor our veterans but we can't forget about those who didn't make it. He said more than 1,500 people died in his mission.
"Honoring who I served with and that who served wherever they are and wherever they may be," he said. "To remember particularly those who didn't make it home."
If you want to celebrate your local veterans, the city of Yakima is hosting a parade downtown Sunday morning.