Army veteran Kit Lowe was this year’s guest speaker for Ebenezer Middle School’s annual Veterans Day assembly, but it wasn’t his first time talking to students there.
He had addressed EMS students in 2009 — from his hospital bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Lowe was sent to Walter Reed after being shot in Afghanistan in August 2009, and he returned there to undergo surgery that November. Ebenezer Middle had been in touch with Lowe, a Savannah native, about speaking to its students for Veterans Day, and he did it courtesy of a video feed from Walter Reed to the EMS gymnasium.
“So, you’re remembered. Thank you so much,” organizer Pat McCall told Lowe following his in-person talk at Ebenezer Middle last Friday.
The students honored local veterans who were in attendance and recognized their “EMS heroes” — teachers and staff who are military veterans or are family members of service men and women. The Ebenezer Middle chorus and band performed patriotic selections, including the marches of the armed forces.
This year’s assembly saluted the Wounded Warrior Project, a nationwide program to assist injured military service members. Students wrote essays about the WWP, and the winners from each grade level read theirs at the assembly.
Lowe acknowledged that he didn’t know much about the Wounded Warrior Project before he was injured in combat. He served in the Army from 2004-12, and said he had been in Afghanistan for four months when he was shot in the leg on Aug. 7, 2009.
“We were ambushed while we were clearing out a village that had been overrun by the Taliban,” Lowe explained to the students.
A strength of the Wounded Warrior Project, Lowe said, is that service members reach out to each other regardless of their branch of the military. He learned that upon his arrival at Walter Reed.
“A Marine Corps liaison shows up, and I’m looking at him, going, ‘Hey, you know I’m with the Army, right?’” Lowe recalled. “It was nice to have somebody tell you, ‘Welcome home, I appreciate your service,’ after spending time overseas with people who seemed very ungrateful and just wanted to hurt you.”
Lowe has been active in the Wounded Warrior Project since then, including a trip to the United Kingdom in 2011 to visit injured British troops. Wearing the leg brace he has used since being shot, Lowe walked along Normandy Beach, the famous site of the Allied troops’ D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944 during World War II.
Next month, Lowe will spend a week in north Georgia with Project Odyssey, a retreat to assist veterans in overcoming combat stress. He said he also stays connected year-round with WWP alumni through social media.
“It’s nice to know that there are other people who are in the same situation as me, who are hurt, who go through the emotional issues that you have once you leave the military and lose that support you have when you’re in,” Lowe said. “You start building bonds with these people — and they’re great people.”
The assembly concluded with Ebenezer Middle principal Amie Dickerson recognizing McCall for organizing the school’s Veterans Day program for all 15 years it has been held. McCall retired from the school system at the conclusion of the 2012-13 year but volunteered to help one more time this year.
“Thank you all. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” she said to the audience.
On the Web
Watch video of Ebenezer Middle School’s Veterans Day essay winners in the Featured Video section on www.effinghamherald.net.
Marlow Elementary School pays tribute to veterans.