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A tribute to sacrifice

Staff photo by Tommy Millsaps
Jimmy Arwood and his grandson, Eli Arwood, remember Larry Arwood, who was killed in
Vietnam 45 years ago. The tribute was part of Sweetwater High's Veterans Day program held
Published: 10:10 AM, 11/14/2012 Last updated: 1:58 PM, 11/14/2012

Author: Tommy Millsaps
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

SWEETWATER-Jimmy Arwood put his arm around his grandson and looked out at the hundreds of Sweetwater High students surrounding them on both sides of the gym.

"This is what my brother looked like," he said.

Because Jimmy Arwood's grandson is Eli Arwood, a current student at SHS, the point was driven home.

Jimmy Arwoods' brother, Larry Arwood, never really got to grow up. He was killed in action in November 1967 in Vietnam, not long after graduating from Sweetwater High.

Jimmy Arwood's poignant story about his late brother was all part of the school's Veterans Day tribute held Monday.

Students even got to hear the actual letter the family received 45 years ago about Larry Arwood's death read aloud.

"I told my brother he would never be forgotten," the elder Arwood said after the letter was read.

The somber tribute to solders' ultimate sacrifice was further emphasized by Principal David Watts, who paid tribute to SHS graduate Joey Hunt, killed in action in 2005, and Robert Repkie, killed in 2010 while serving his country not long after leaving his days at Sweetwater High behind.

Watts and Vice Principal Rex Rhodes had gone to the county Veterans Day tribute in Madisonville on Friday in honor of Repkie, after he had been deserted by his family years ago, Watts said.

Guest speaker and 1976 SHS graduate Nita Fioravanti, a retired Army colonel, told how her service had taken her all over the world and now back to Sweetwater.

Sweetwater Mayor Doyle Lowe asked Sweetwater High students to partner with him raising money to replace the weather-worn banners that hang by the train car in the center of town. The banners were hung in honor of local soldiers killed in service to their country.

The mayor said if enough money was raised, he would replace the giant flag that hangs outside the school on the nearly 100-foot high flag pole. | 337-7101

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