It’s a school I’m sure you’ve probably never heard of in a city you may have never heard of. The city’s claim to fame is that it’s “The Gateway to the Sierras”, centrally located in California, population about 95,000. It’s a sleepy little western themed town that’s located right next door to Fresno. Hunting, fishing, sports and antique malls are just some of the ways the folks here past the time away. But it is also known for something else, something more somber.
Buchanan High has the unfortunate ranking of having the most military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-present, of students from a single high school in California. I was going to write this post in July of 2010, when the number hit 7, but just this past week, the number went up to 8. Eight young men killed in battle, who all happened to attend the same high school at different times, including 2 brothers? I know this school, it’s a good school in a good community.
The news broke on Friday, another valley marine had been killed — this time in Afghanistan. Sergeant Matthew Abbate was killed in action Thursday. Two marines and a chaplain notified the family Thursday night of the tragedy. Abbate’s step father issued a statement Friday saying quote: “He always wanted to be a marine. He died doing what he believed he was born to do.”
Also here and here.
They say Clovis is an extraordinarily patriotic community and its children are raised on God and country, duty and honor. They’re willing to serve and willing to die, the same as Clovis’ generations who went before them. Buchanan’s school colors are red, white and blue. The stadium is named Veteran’s Memorial. Former classmates and older siblings come back in uniform for campus visits. Friday night football games include a moment of silence for Buchanan’s fallen soldiers.
Thank you former Buchanan High School students,
Abbate, Matthew, Clovis December 2, 2010
Piercy, Brian F. Clovis July 19, 2010
Eischen, Nicholas D. Clovis December 24, 2007
Hubbard, Nathan C. Clovis August 22, 2007
Hubbard, Jared P. Clovis November 04, 2004
Walter, Rowan D. Clovis February 22, 2007
Butterfield, Anthony E. Clovis July 29, 2006
Baro, Jeremiah A. Fresno November 04, 2004