Grays Harbor, Choctaw Nation Honor Army Veteran

August 23, 2016 | Tom Davis

Grays Harbor Adventist Christian School students had an opportunity this year to expand their study of the Holocaust and its impact on Jews throughout Germany and beyond.

Fifteen Grays Harbor students attended a special assembly in Aberdeen on March 23. They were fascinated by the personal account of 92-year-old Arnold Samuels, a U.S. Army veteran who grew up as part of a Jewish family in Germany. Samuels eventually moved to the United States in his teen years. At 19, during World War II, he asked to be drafted into the U.S. armed services so he could fight the power that had forced him from his homeland.

Samuels eventually was involved in liberating a concentration camp. Actual photos he had taken were in a scrapbook for Grays Harbor students to view. Students were attentive and drawn into the question-and-answer time after his story was told. This added to their understanding of a play about the Holocaust they have studied. Samuels’ actual account helped bring this tragic period to life for them so they too may never forget. 

As a tribal elder of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Thomas Davis, Grays Harbor Adventist Christian School board member, presented Samuels with a golden lapel pin with the tribal seal to honor his role in a top secret mission that contributed to the end of the war.  

Davis also took the opportunity to provide additional information to the students about the original Choctaw code talkers of World War I, who were instrumental in aiding the allied efforts.

As a result this special day, Grays Harbor students have a much greater appreciation for the challenges of war. They have been inspired by the account of one who determined to meet adversity with the commitment to be a liberator.