Mona Shores School Visit – 2017

Mona Shores students gathered around Eric Jr's gravesite
Mona Shores students gathered around Eric Jr's gravesite
Eric Herzberg Sr. receiving flag as a gift from Mona Shores student
Eric Herzberg Sr. speaking to Mona Shores students at Eric Jr's gravesite
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On a beautiful Saturday afternoon on June 17, 2017 in Washington DC, 121 students many chaperones from Mona Shores Middle School in Michigan met at Arlington Cemetery with me and my wife Wendi. This was the tenth consecutive year that Eric Wahlberg and the Mona Shores staff conducted the visit.

We also were blessed to have my father (Eric’s grandfather) and his wife of 30 years Jeanne there as well. Eric Wahlberg, a teacher at Mona Shores, arranged for the get together. In fact, he shared that since he started teaching about Eric in his class many years ago, over 3,000 students have now learned about him, and the example he set with his life.  We were so humbled to have heard that.  I know that Eric would be happy to know that too.

Everyone gathered near Eric’s gravesite to meet each other and listen to Eric’s dad (myself) speak about Eric to the students.  Unfortunately I forgot to bring Eric’s portrait done by Michael Reagan this year but we did have a single page handout for each student of a fallen hero that was buried in section 60, along with their biography and portrait image.  The students were asked to find the fallen hero and just reflect on that person’s life.

Like previous years, I shared about Eric growing up and how he became such a selfless young man but also he was more ordinary than most of the students might have thought.  I wanted them to know that they didn’t have to be a superstar to make a difference in this world. As was the case the previous years, the afternoon was a very profound and emotional experience.  I am grateful to my wife also for making the day a great experience.  She was thoughtful enough to have recommended we have water for each of the students.

Most of the time was spent talking about Eric, the type of person he was and kind of impact he was having even though his time with us is over. The letters the Mona Shore students had written to Eric were very touching and heartwarming. Several students read their letters out loud.

Included below is a very small sample of the students letters as well as some of the pictures.

To the Mona Shores students, chaparones and to Eric Wahlberg, on behalf of our son Eric and his family, we want to say thank you for honoring him in this way. You have given us a precious gift by learning about Eric and his life. You are a blessing to us and we are proud to call you our friends.  We look forward to seeing you every year.

Student Letters to Eric

Mona Shores student Alexa Theis
Mona Shores student Camille Zuidema
Mona Shores student Heather Clark
Mona Shores student Hunter Burkett
Mona Shores student Jessica Lawton
Mona Shores student Katie Mitchell
Mona Shores student Kelsey Gelderloos
Mona Shores student Kennedy McCombs
Mona Shores student Lauren Janetzke
Mona Shores student Lillis Lake
Mona Shores student Megan Quigg
Mona Shores student Summer Biesiada
Unknown Mona Shores student


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