Our military veterans are living textbooks of American history and are able to bring history to life in powerful ways.
Veterans have witnessed monumental events in history. Accounts of their experiences while in uniform and as a result of their military service should be preserved and shared with others.
Veterans in Community Schools, an American Legion Family program embraced by members of the American Legion Auxiliary, brings history to life as local veterans tell students about their experiences in the military. Students gain firsthand knowledge from the one who lived the story they are telling.
In an article by The Washington Post, Clinton Romesha, a former Army staff sergeant and author of Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor, writes, “In addition to providing a first draft of history, such stories are part of the process by which the nation that sent its soldiers to fight can stumble toward an understanding of what their sacrifices mean.”
This open forum of learning from those who fought for our country instills patriotism and an appreciation for their freedom in America. They learn about the horrors of war, life in the military, and how service affected their lives and the lives of others. Veterans sharing their stories help students learn from and appreciate the sacrifices the individuals and their families have made.
In addition to sharing their personal stories, veterans may also discuss a wide range of topics, including how to:
- Help a family who has a deployed military servicemember
- Show support for troops
- Demonstrate respect for the American flag and its importance
The Veterans in Community Schools program also can benefit veterans. Sharing their military story with an appreciative audience can help them heal from psychological wounds from combat, deployment, or family separation. Veterans who have spoken to students generally describe the experience as rewarding.