Veteran visits Harrisburg students

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 Messenger photo by Andrea Cordle
 Veteran Barbara Megoloff talked to students at Harrisburg Elementary School on Nov. 11 about the war in Iraq and women in the military. Megoloff was the first women at AMVETS post 300 in Columbus.

Every year, Congresswoman Deborah Pryce encourages area veterans to visit local schools and share their experience on Veterans Day. Barbara Megoloff rose to the occasion and stopped by Harrisburg Elementary School to talk to Amy Mastroianni’s first and second grade class.

Megoloff reminded the students just how lucky they are.

"We live so comfortably here at home and our troops are living in fox holes just to stay alive," the veteran said.

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day is a time to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military, in wartime or peace. Veterans Day acknowledges contributions by veterans as opposed to Memorial Day, which is reserved for remembrance.

Megoloff is a Vietnam-era veteran who served in the Air Force. She is active in AMVETS Post 300 in Columbus and was the first woman at the post. She talked to the students about how women are received in leadership positions.

"Some people are not accepting of women in these roles," said Megoloff. "I experienced it in the military as well as outside of it."

She explained that while serving, she did not go into combat. She was a Russian interpreter.

"When I was serving, women were typically military nurses," Megoloff commented.

"Now women are fighting on the ground, they are helicopter pilots, they can do anything."

According to the Women in Military Web site, women now make up approximately 20 percent of today’s military. They are rising to higher positions in the Defense Department but women have always played a role in the military. It has been reported that as early as the Revolutionary War in the 1700s, women would dress as men to fight and serve their country.

Megoloff explained that man or woman, the position deserves respect.

"It is a very serious thing to go to war," she told the students. "They are fighting to protect you and keep you safe and free."

According to The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, World War I ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed June 28, 1919 outside Versailles, France. However, the fighting ceased seven months earlier when temporary cessation of hostilities, between Allied nations and Germany, went into effect on Nov. 11, 1918 at the eleventh hour.

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