FULTON – If there’s one lesson Fulton City School District sixth graders learned during a recent school lesson, it was to never forget the accomplishments of Fultonians who helped shape the course of history.
One courageous man who did just that, they learned, was Carlton W. Barrett who received a Medal of Honor citation for his bravery on D-Day in World War II when he swam wounded soldiers out to evacuation boats.
On the beaches of Normandy, France, Pvt. Barrett found himself under fire and he disregarded his three shrapnel and bullet wounds to help others survive.
A blast had shattered the bones in his foot and he was evacuated off of the beach.
It was that account that inspired FCSD sixth grade teachers to put together a mini Medal of Honor academic unit to teach the young students community members who made a difference in one of the most significant days of military history for the United States.
Students were not only enthusiastic to learn every detail of the heroic account, they also were thrilled to submit entries into an essay contest about Pvt. Barrett’s actions.
Volney parent Carolyn Zimmerman researched Pvt. Barrett’s life and wrote a detailed article, to which students wrote essays based on the prompt: “As a fellow Fultonian, I am proud of Carlton W. Barrett’s actions on June 6, 1944 because…”
Sixth grade teacher Bill Cahill said students learned the following character traits displayed by Medal of Honor recipients: humility, selflessness, passion, fortitude, perseverance, patriotism, valor and gallantry.
“These are all traits that if emulated, will serve our children well in their own lives,” he said.
Essay winners will ride in Fulton’s Memorial Day parade on May 27 and read their essays at a morning program at Memorial Park on May 29.
The following excerpts are from winning essay entries:
• Amber Jackson, Volney Elementary: “Heroes are the men and woman who wear the uniforms of the Armed Forces. Carlton said: “It was after that I knew what a hero really is. They are all heroes just for being there, especially those that never came back. Memorial Day and D-Day are good days to remember…”
• Evan Zimmerman, Volney Elementary: “Of the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who went into battle on that fateful day, only four were awarded the Medal of Honor. Of those four, only one survived: Private (Pvt.) Carlton W. Barrett of Fulton NY.”
• Maddison Schlosser, Fairgrieve Elementary: “He’s different than other heroes. He’s not 6’7”, he doesn’t wear a cape, he can’t fly, he doesn’t have any super powers but he’s still a hero. How? Because of his bravery.”
• Ryan Carroll, Fairgrieve Elementary: “Carlton W. Barrett has proven that anything is possible, even when you grow up in such a small city as Fulton. This is why I am proud of Carlton W. Barrett and all he has done to serve this country and to represent the city of Fulton!”
• Carter VanBuren, Granby Elementary: “our community can continue to honor his bravery and remember the courage it takes for our military to protect our country and each other, especially on Memorial Day.”
• Megan Acker, Lanigan Elementary: “Barrett was always reluctant to share his story. He firmly believed that the heroes that day were the ones that died, and, ever the humble soldier, told inquisitors, “Memorial Day and D-Day are good days to remember them.”