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Edison High School students unveil plaque honoring WWII vet killed in plane crash

Plaque at Edison High School honors WWII vet killed in plane crash
Plaque at Edison High School honors WWII vet killed in plane crash 02:00

MINNEAPOLIS — In light of Memorial Day weekend, students at Edison High School are honoring World War II veterans in a special way. 

A ceremony Friday morning commemorated the 116 Edison alumni who lost their lives during the war. It was one of the highest casualty rates of any high school in the nation. Many of them either graduated or never finished high school. 

"The scale of this war in a single neighborhood, in a single war, single school. These people all walked through the same halls that our current students do," said Salzer. 

A new plaque unveiled Friday will also honor one veteran in particular: Rose Puchalla, the only female on the list.

"She was very tenacious and she was willing to do a lot of things for her family, and her country," said senior Ethan Hall. 

When Puchalla's dad died she dropped out of school to help her family. Then, as war broke out, she enlisted in the women's army corps. But sadly, she was killed when her plane crashed in North Africa. 

"The crash marked the largest single loss of life involving women during WWII," said Salzer. 

That meant something to Hall. During Mr. Salzer's mock government unit, he got a bill passed to create a plaque for Puchalla. Then, he and other students went to local businesses and raised $2,600 - enough money to make the plaque a reality. 

"I still can't get over that it's coming to fruition because it was just a couple months ago that we were planning," said Hall. 

For Mr. Salzer, it's one of the most important and proud teaching moments, he's ever been a part of. 

"These were the kids that graduated, enlisted, and made that ultimate sacrifice which is what Memorial Day is all about. It's not about one day off from school, it's about that ultimate sacrifice that was made," said Salzer. 

Puchalla's plaque is almost done and the plan is to have it put up in the front hallway near a plaque for Richard Kraus.

He was also an Edison graduate and a medal of honor recipient during the war.

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