|Sgt. Brian L Buker|
The following article, Residents of Benton will have their say on renaming school, appeared the other day and we find it hard to believe that there is any doubt in the minds of the citizens of Benton, Maine. Unfortunately, we have read similar reports from other cities and towns.
“On Nov. 2, students at Benton Elementary School held a mock election and included a question about renaming the school. They voted by a 3-1 margin to keep its current name.
The results of a survey posted on the school’s website showed that many staff members, former students and parents also opposed the change.”
We believe it might be a good thing that Benton School district included a Medal of Honor curriculum in their history lesson plans.
After Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant Brian L. Buker’s medals were donated to Lawrence High School this fall, Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty proposed renaming Benton Elementary School for Buker, who was killed in combat during the Vietnam War, 41 years ago, when he was only 20 years old.
From the Morning Sentinel:
“We didn’t realize there was going to be as much opposition to denotive the school as there was,” stated Fitzpatrick, a member of the subcommittee. “We were all kind of surprised.”
Liberty stated Tuesday he’s collected 280 signatures from Benton residents who support changing the name. He called the resistance from the school “surprising and disappointing.”
Liberty stated that many schools are titled after local heroes, and he believes Buker is deserving of that honor.
“Sgt. Buker personally led the platoon, cleared a strategically located well-guarded pass, and established the first foothold at the top of what had been an impenetrable mountain fortress,” the document reads. “When the platoon came under the intense fire from a determined enemy, located in two heavily fortified bunkers, and realizing that withdrawal would result in heavy casualties, Sgt. Buker unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, charged through the hail of enemy fire and destroyed the first bunker with hand grenades.”
While reorganizing his men for an attack on the second bunker, Buker was seriously wounded, but crawled forward and destroyed the second bunker.
“Sgt. Buker refused medical attention and was reorganizing his men to continue the attack when he was mortally wounded,” the citation reads. “As a direct result of his heroic actions, many casualties were averted, and the assault of the enemy position was successful.”
And from Leslie Bridgers’ previous article, Buker debate ongoing in Benton:
“Randall Liberty called the resistance to changing the name “insane.” He said “there is no higher award in our nation” than the Medal of Honor and questioned what it would take for the school to be named for someone.
“Do you have to be a president? Do you have to be an astronaut?” he asked.
“His mother gave up her son for our nation,” Liberty said. “Don’t minimize that.”