The Wall of Heroes
In early March of 2021, I had the opportunity to interview Lower Dauphin High School’s Guidance Counselor, Nate Espenshade, the person who I refer to as the keeper of The Wall. I put together some questions that I had for Nate, because when I took on this task of creating the LDAA Website, I knew that there would be a tab for this very touching and wonderful gift that has been given to our High School, all by the students who attended here. Please read below how The Wall of Heroes came to be.
How and when did this idea come about?
It was started around 2004. I really wanted to do something to recognize the LD graduates who served our country through military service. It started out with small American flags that we printed out. Their names were written on the flags and we also included their rank and where they were stationed. These things frequently changed as they received promotions and new assignments to them to new locations. We decided to simplify that information to include things that would not change (Name, Military Branch, Grad Year).
Whose idea was it to put up the wall of Heroes?
I guess the idea was mine. I remember having conversations with other LD employees about it and people helped bring it together.
What made you think of doing something like this amazing tribute?
I have tremendous respect for the men and women who served our country. I wanted to do something to honor them.
When was the wall assembled and put up?
The original wall with paper flags would have been 2004. We updated the wall with wooden plaques and metal name plates in 2009. The wall got updated again in 2018 with a large picture (picture attached). The latest update really stands out and gets noticed when people are in the building. We designed and sold t-shirts to help raise money for this project.
How many names are on the wall?
It looks to be roughly around 550. There are currently 520 names on the list. But that number will hopefully increase as we are given more names. We want to include every LD graduate who has served.
Are you still looking for LD Military to add? How do you go about advertising for it and if someone would like to be added, who do they contact?
We are always looking to add names. We want to include everyone who served. In 2009 we had a big advertising campaign. We printed out flyers and displayed them at the local VFW and American Legion. We tried to get the word and it spread by word of mouth. We called Veterans who we knew and got a lot of names that way. I started getting phone calls from past graduates, family members, and friends who wanted to give me names. Then people came into the school for different events and saw the Wall of Heroes and took pictures. They posted their pictures on social media or sent them to others and it generated more phone calls and emails. If anyone wants to submit a name they can contact me through my email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share the name (as they want it to appear), military branch, and graduation year.
The Wall of Heroes in 2018
Nate Espenshade appears in
The Sun in 2009 to discuss the concept.
One of the wooden plaques with metal name plates in 2009