Veterans stories make history more alive to students

8.28 last word“All too often, we page-turn through a textbook or other source, and, while we can get a lot out of those sources, the minute we turn to the next chapter, the previous one seems to fade away. Having real people in the classroom telling their story really seemed like the most logical way to snap out of that mentality and make history more alive.”

— Sairah Ahmed, High School History Teacher, Cedar Springs, Mich.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Chuck Smith and U.S. Army veteran Tom Hoskins shared stories about their time in service to juniors at their alma mater, Cedar Springs High School in Michigan, captured in a article.

Smith talked about the loss of a former classmate who was drafted and killed in

Vietnam. “Trying to put things into perspective for you, he graduated in ’67, and was killed in ’67. You guys are juniors and seniors … 16, 17, 18 years old.

He wasn’t much older,” Smith said.

“In a battle like that, if you take someone’s life, you leave a little bit of your soul behind on the ground,” said Smith, who celebrated his 20th birthday in the field.

The veterans’ stories offered an opportunity of learning beyond textbooks for many of Ahmed’s students, who heard the heart and purpose of why we study history.

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. Read more about Veterans in Community Schools here.

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